HBO Max’s new brand Angers Hollywood with a “Creators” section

HBO Max has officially relaunched as Max this week, and some of the changes are already raising eyebrows. Since the streaming platform’s relaunch, new “excerpts” sections for movies and TV shows awkwardly group writers and directors together as the “creators” of a given project. The move to streamers has sparked outrage among entertainment creators, as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is currently on strike against studios and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents streamers.

For his part, Max later issued a statement The Hollywood Reporterapologized for the problem and promised to fix it later.

Showing Max “Details” angers writers and creators amid WGA Strike

Basically, the details section now only lists writers and directors as the “creators” of a movie or television show. The “Wonder Woman” movie, for example, lists director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg as “creators” of the 2017 DC comic book superhero film. Below is another example from the classic 1980 Martin Scorsese film, “Raging Bull,” courtesy of Twitter user John Frankensteiner:

Another example lists the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Jeff Nathanson, based on the book of the same name by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding. Max now only lists a large group of names. Spielberg is on the list after producers Tony Romano and Walter F. Parkes. Not to mention that Spielberg was also the acclaimed producer of the feature.

The change to the streamer details section soon went viral, and entertainment creators took to social media to share their outrage. Steven DeKnight, writer and showrunner of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil series, wrote of the new listings: “An absolute masterclass in screwing up a streaming service. This is going to be studied for years.” “Poker Face” writer and showrunner Nora Zuckerman also chimed in: “Would the @WGAWest @directorsguild and @producersguild be even remotely okay with this?”

“Men in Black” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” screenwriter Ed Solomon joked that he described Martin Scorsese as a “content creator” for the streamer. Of the changes, he wrote: “I’d say Martin Scorsese is my favorite content creator (ie performance per inch) and of all his output, Mean Streets & Taxi Driver has the best optimized yield.”

THR also notes that TV shows use a similar layout in the “Episode Details” dropdown for a television series to reveal episodes. THR reports that the “Succession” pilot episode currently stars Regina Heyman, Frank Rich, Jesse Armstrong, Will Ferrell, Kevin Messick, Adam McKay, Dara Schnapper and Ilene S. Landress. The sole creator of the series has always been Jesse Armstrong.

The move comes amid the ongoing WGA strike, now in its fourth week. Not to mention that AMPTP’s current contracts with both the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, and the directors’ union, the DGA, expire on June 30. SAG-AFTRA is now ready for its members to vote in favor of a strike. authorization, which means that if enough members vote “YES” to the strike, the union presidency can call another labor strike at any time after June 30. Max sees this move as a sign of disrespect to many film and TV creatives. this is not the most diplomatic move in the face of an ongoing labor strike that could lead to the next strike by the actors and management unions.

After the story caught on like wildfire, drawing controversy and swift backlash, Max issued a statement to THR apologizing for the “mistake.” Max promised that the credits would be fixed at a later date. The announcement also stated that the problem in the “details” section was caused by “ignoring the technical transition from HBO Max to Max”.

Meanwhile, the president of the DGA, Lesli Linka Glatter also issued a statement on the introduction of Max and the blanket categorization of writers, producers and directors as “creators” and calls Warner Bros. Discovery’s “unilateral action without prior notice or consultation” a “serious insult to our members and our union.”

SAG-AFTRA is expected to begin negotiations with AMPTP on June 7. The media companies have not planned to negotiate with the WGA since the strike began.

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