HBO Max officially relaunched as Max this week, and some of the changes are already raising some eyebrows. Since the streaming platform relaunched, the new “details” sections for films and TV shows awkwardly groups writers and directors together as “Creators” of a given project. The change to the streamer has caused anger among entertainment creators, as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is currently engaged in a labor strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios and streamers.
For its part, Max later issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, apologizing for the issue and promising to correct it at some point later on.
Max ‘Details’ Display Angers Writers & Creators In Midst Of WGA Strike
Basically, the details section will now just list the writers and directors together as “Creators” for a movie or television show. For example, the “Wonder Woman” movie lists director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg as the “creators” of the 2017 DC comic book superhero movie. You can see another example below for the classic 1980 Martin Scorsese film, “Raging Bull,” courtesy of Twitter user John Frankensteiner:
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
Another example lists the 2002 film “Catch Me If You Can,” which was 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 justs lists a large group of names together. Spielberg is listed after producers Tony Romano and Walter F. Parkes. Not to mention, Spielberg was also a credited producer for the feature.
Silence of the Lambs is another particularly horrifying one pic.twitter.com/ohFAylCm9j
— John Frankensteiner (@JFrankensteiner) May 24, 2023
The change to the details section of the streamer soon went viral, and entertainment creators shared their outrage on social media. Steven DeKnight, writer and showrunner and Marvel and Netflix’s “Daredevil” series wrote on the new listings, “An absolute master class in how to fuck up a streaming service. This will be studied for years.” “Poker Face” writer and showrunner Nora Zuckerman also chimed in, “@WGAWest @directorsguild and @producersguild would be even remotely okay with this?”
“Men in Black” and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” screenwriter Ed Solomon joked about Martin Scorsese being classified as a “content creator” by the streamer. He wrote on the changes, “I’d say Martin Scorsese is my favorite content creator (output per inch, that is), with Mean Streets & Taxi Driver being, of all his product, his most optimized yield.”
An absolute master class in how to fuck up a streaming service. This will be studied for years. https://t.co/zl1GB2ggc3
— Steven DeKnight (@stevendeknight) May 24, 2023
— Nora Zuckerman (@NoraZuckerman) May 24, 2023
I’d say Martin Scorsese is my favorite content creator (output per inch, that is), with Mean Streets & Taxi Driver being, of all his product, his most optimized yield. https://t.co/fdyluLYzPM
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) May 24, 2023
THR also notes that for TV shows, a similar layout is used in the “Episode Details” pulldown menu for a television series to reveal the episode credits. THR reports that the pilot episode of “Succession” currently lists Regina Heyman, Frank Rich, Jesse Armstrong, Will Ferrell, Kevin Messick, Adam McKay, Dara Schnapper, and Ilene S. Landress as its “Creators.” The sole creator of the series has always been Jesse Armstrong.
The move comes amid the ongoing WGA strike, which is currently in its fourth week. Not to mention, the AMPTP’s current contracts with both the actors’ guild, SAG-AFTRA, and the directors’ guild, the DGA, are set to expire on June 30. SAG-AFTRA is already prepared to have its members vote for a strike authorization, meaning if enough eligible members vote “YES” for a strike, the union’s National Board could call for another labor strike anytime after June 30. This move by Max is clearly seen as a sign of disrespect by many film and TV creatives, so it’s not the most diplomatic move in the face of an ongoing labor strike, which could grow into the acting and directing unions going on strike next.
This was a compromise: David Zaslav wanted his own name as “Creator and Straw Boss of Max Universe” to appear first in all credits. https://t.co/h0lIPLhw0u
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) May 24, 2023
After the story caught like wildfire, garnering controversy and swift backlash, Max issued a statement to THR, apologizing for the “mistake.” Max promised that the credits will be corrected at a later date. Also, the statement blamed the issue with the “details” section as being caused by “an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max.
Meanwhile, DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter also issued a statement on the Max rollout and listing writers, producers, and directors into a generic “creators” category, calling this “unilateral move, without notice or consultation” by Warner Bros. Discovery “a grave insult to our members and our union.”
SAG-AFTRA is expected to enter negotiations with the AMPTP on June 7. Media companies have not yet scheduled negotiations with the WGA since the strike began.