New Max streaming service angers writers and directors with big crediting error
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has been forced to apologize for failing to properly credit writers and directors on its newly launched Max streaming service.
The super streamer, which combines HBO Max and Discovery Plus' libraries into a single entity, only made its debut on May 23. In the first 48 hours since launch, though, Max has faced numerous issues – including a glaring oversight in how writers and directors have been credited on the platform.
Yesterday (May 24), a Twitter thread – started by user John Frankensteiner – revealed that specific Max movies and TV shows hadn't properly credited its most prominent crew members. Rather than list which individuals had written, directed, and produced productions including Silence of the Lambs, Catch Me If You Can, and Raging Bull (among many others), each project's main crew members were lumped into a vague 'creators' section. That's a big mistake for any major studio, the world's best streaming services, or any other entertainment industry-based company to have made.
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/gPveQ469GBMay 24, 2023
Unsurprisingly, the backlash to the lack of proper accreditation was as angry as it was swift. Statements from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Directors Guild of America (DGA) – as seen in LA Times reporter Anousha Sakoui's tweet below – furiously condemned the move, with the DGA saying it "would not stand for it" and the WGA calling the oversight "disrespectful", "insulting," and "diminishing".
"the DGA will not stand for it"Massive joint statement from WGA and DGA over Max new credits pic.twitter.com/ocOk6yLUQJMay 24, 2023
It didn't take long for WBD to confirm it would reinstate proper writers, directors, and producers' credits on its Max platform, either. In a statement provided to Variety, a WBD spokesperson said: "We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized. 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."
As mentioned, this isn't the only problem WBD has to deal with as part of Max's rocky launch. Multiple users – ourselves included – struggled to log into the Max streaming service on launch day (and continue to do so), with a repeated error message preventing us and many others from seeing what was new. Others, including TechRadar's US editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff, lamented the fact that HBO Max's replacement service just made him miss WBD's former main streamer, too.
There are positives to Max's arrival, however. The mega streaming service has more 4K HDR movies than HBO Max did, and there are a ton of new movies and TV shows to check out on the newly launched platform. You can find out even more details about Max in our seven things HBO Max fans need to know about WBD's new super streamer article.
Max-ing out the insensitivity bar
It's not hyperbolic to suggest that this Max crediting blunder couldn't have come at a worse time for WBD.
Not only has it had to deal with the aforementioned log-in issues among others, but the seeming unwillingness to credit movie and TV show writers, directors, and producers properly is incredibly insensitive, not least because of the ongoing WGA strike.
For the last three weeks (at the time of writing), WGA members have refused to continue work on in-development shows, such as Stranger Things season 5 and multiple Marvel projects, after a breakdown in talks with the Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP). The latter is the organization that represents the world's biggest entertainment firms, and they're refusing to play ball over a number of suggestions that the WGA has proposed concerning better working conditions for its members. Those proposals include bigger wage packets, job security amid the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) programs, such as Google Bard and ChatGPT, and greater transparency over how TV shows and movies have performed, particularly on streaming services, where viewing figures are withheld from the very people who write, direct, and produce those projects.
In fact, it's the world's most prominent streamers that are reportedly responsible (largely, anyway) for the breakdown in talks between the WGA and AMPTP. Netflix is believed to be one of the biggest objectors to the WGA's demands, but Warner Bros. Discovery is also thought to have played some role in proceedings – WBD CEO David Zaslav was heckled during a visit to Boston University (per NBC) over the studio's role in the strike.
This specific Max faux pas, then, will do little to assuage those who support the industrial action and pours further fuel on a fire that continues to rage hard. WBD has enough Max-based problems to iron out without shooting itself in the foot. Unfortunately, that's what it's done here, and it'll need a huge amount of groveling (and goodwill on the part of writers, directors, and producers who work with WBD moving forward) to regain the trust of those it burned with this oversight.
For more Max-based coverage, read up on the best Max movies and best Max TV shows. You know, if you've signed up for the service and can look past WBD's latest blunder.