The Producers Guild of America has brought the last three major studios — holdouts Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount — into the fold on the sticky issue of movie-producer credits, clearing the way for a PGA certification on all new studio movies.
Under the agreement, the guild will certify the legitimacy of “produced by” credits on a film-by-film basis. Once a producer is blessed by the guild, there will be an on-screen “p.g.a.” certification included with the film's credits.
The guild has for years complained about people being wrongfully credited as producers when they don’t actually serve that function, or fulfil its list of Producers Code of Credits requirements for the designation. The “p.g.a." mark will in theory codify that.
“People often talk about ‘historic moments,’ but this is truly that,” PGA presidents Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch said. “Producers, studios and audiences will know for certain that those who are credited with the ‘p.g.a.’ mark actually did the work of a producer.”
The issue has frequently come up in awards season, when the PGA determines which credited producers of Oscar-nominated films actually deserve the credit, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scienes accepts their rulings to determine which producers get Best Picture nominations. While there’s nothing in the agreement that addresses the awards issues specifically, getting pre-approval should head off most of those problems.
Sony, Universal and Fox had previously signed on, as have DreamWorks, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate, while the Weinstein Company has an agreement in principal with the PGA. The guild has been gradually implementing the process and some studios have been voluntarily participating. Disney's "The Lone Ranger" and "Monsters University," for example, both carried the credit.
The process for acquiring a “p.g.a.” certification will be comparable to the arbitration process implemented by the PGA during awards season, but with a quicker turnaround time, probably about two weeks. Studios will provide a Notice of Producing Credits to the PGA upon the commencement of post-production. The certification is modeled on the guidelines established by the Producers Code of Credits that was initiated in 2004 and is accepted industry-wide.
There was a high-profile flap a couple of years ago, when the PGA ruled that Ryan Kavanaugh didn't deserve a producer credit or a nomination for "The Fighter" because he wasn't around during development and pre-production.
A producer need not be a member of the PGA to be eligible for certification; the mark will simply indicate that the credited producer performed a majority of the producing duties on the film in the eyes of the guild.
Whether it will do anything to curtail bogus “executive producer” credits — frequently negotiated when a project is coming together – remains to be seen.