Warner Bros. Discovery will update its filmmaker credit listings on Max after facing pushback from viewers on social media as well as the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America.
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” a Warner Bros. Discovery spokesperson told TheWrap. “We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake.”
TheWrap’s review of the details section of films on the streamer like “Goodfellas” and “Superman the Movie” found that writers and directors of those projects had been lumped into a new “Creators” category.
One social media user found the change on “Raging Bull,” which listed director Martin Scorsese, writers Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin and producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff under the category.
The new HBO Max (MAX) has eliminated writer/director credits in their interface in favor of a vague "Creators." This is what Raging Bull currently looks like. It's so fucking over. pic.twitter.com/gPveQ469GB
— John Frankensteiner (@JFrankensteiner) May 24, 2023
Also included were Peter Savage, author of the book that inspired the film, and boxer Jake LaMotta whose life is depicted in it.
In a statement on Wednesday, DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter called the “unilateral move, without notice or consultation, to collapse directors, writers, producers and others into a generic category of ‘creators’ in their new Max rollout while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union.”
“For almost 90 years, the Directors Guild has fought fiercely to protect the credit and recognition deserved by Directors for the work they create,” Glatter added. “This devaluation of the individual contributions of artists is a disturbing trend and the DGA will not stand for it. We intend on taking the strongest possible actions, in solidarity with the WGA, to ensure every artist receives the individual credit they deserve.”
WGA West president Meredith Stiehm added the move is not only a “credits violation” but “disrespectful and insulting to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions.”
“This attempt to diminish writers’ contributions and importance echoes the message we heard in our negotiations with AMPTP— that writers are marginal, inessential, and should simply accept being paid less and less, while our employers’ profits go higher and higher,” she added. “This tone-deaf disregard for writers’ importance is what brought us to where we are today — Day 22 of our strike.”
Max, which combines the library of HBO Max and Discovery, offers three pricing tiers: Max Ad Lite for $9.99 per month, Max Ad-Free for $15.99 per month and Max Ultimate Ad-Free for $19.99 per month. Though the service experienced minor technical glitches in its first day of rollout, a WBD spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap that they were “quickly remedied.”
“You must always anticipate issues on a tech rollout of this scale,” the spokesperson added.
Chief financial officer Gunnar Weidenfels noted that the most evident improvements consumers will see are faster downloads and better technical stability and content discovery.
“It’s Day 1, but so far, so good,” he told J.P Morgan’s Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference on Wednesday. “We’re really in the first innings where we launched the product and the basic thesis here is that we can get better engagement and a more satisfactory consumer experience with this combined portfolio.”
In addition to Max, Discovery+ will continue as a “lower cost” standalone streaming service. Additionally, Warner Bros. Discovery plans to launch its own free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service later this year.