In transition from HBO Max to Max, writer and director credits got lost

A picketer walks underneath a billboard highlighting Warner Bros. animated characters during a Writers Guild rally, Monday, May 22, 2023, outside Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) (Chris Pizzello, Invision)

Warner Bros. Discovery's streaming service Max may only be hours into its rollout, but it quickly came under fire by top Hollywood guilds for the way it credits writers and directors.

Early Wednesday, some started noticing a change to the credits on films. Instead of individually listing writers, directors and producers, the new Max format had lumped them all together. By Wednesday afternoon, the presidents of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America West had issued a strongly worded joint statement condemning the “creator” credit.

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Warner Bros. Discovery responded with a statement saying it was an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and that it will be corrected. No timeline for restoring the writer and director credits was given.

“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” a Max spokesperson said. “We apologize for this mistake.”

But it hit a nerve for the guilds at a tense moment in the industry. The writers are on day 22 of a strike and the directors are in negotiations for a new contract.

It "echoes the message we heard in our negotiations .... that writers are marginal, inessential, and should simply accept being paid less and less, while our employers’ profits go higher and higher,” said Writers Guild of America West President Meredith Stiehm. "This tone-deaf disregard for writers’ importance is what brought us to where we are today.”

DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter added that it was “a grave insult to our members and our union” and that the “devaluation of the individual contributions of artists is a disturbing trend and the DGA will not stand for it.”

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