Culminating a decade of effort to rein in film producer credits, the Producers Guild of America has gotten all the major Hollywood studios on board its film credits certification process.
The PGA announced Thursday that Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros. had all come on board — nine months after Fox, Sony and Universal agreed to the voluntary process.
The Weinstein Co. was the first to agree to use of the Producers Mark — a lower-case “p.g.a.” after a certified producer’s name — on its Prohibition-era drama “Lawless” when it screened in May 2012, at Cannes. The process received a major boost in November when Fox, Sony and Universal signed off on agreements, with the condition that they could drop out of the program if a fourth studio did not come on board within two years.
“People often talk about ‘historic moments,’ but this is truly that: from this day forward 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,” said PGA presidents Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch.
The duo told Variety that the most difficult part of the process has been to persuade studio execs and attorneys that agreeing to the certification process was the right thing to do.
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“We had to get them to take off their business hats and put on their do-the-right-thing hats,” Gordon added. “We never had a timetable for getting this done. We all said, ‘we cannot fail.'”
Variety reported in May that Disney was in final talks and Warner Bros. was in negotiations with the PGA over coming on board.
The mark has now been used on 50 titles including “Fast and Furious 6,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Rise of Guardians,” “The Croods,” “The Purge,” “Monsters University,” “White House Down” and “The Way Way Back.”
Prominent upcoming titles with the PGA mark include Universal’s “R.I.P.D.” for Neal H. Moritz; Lionsgate’s “All Is Lost” for Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb; Dimension’s “Dark Skies” for Jason Blum; “Plush,” for Blum, Catherine Hardwicke and Sherryl Clark; Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks”; Universal’s “47 Ronin”; Sony’s “Smurfs 2” and Fox’s “Turbo.”
The PGA, which has 5,700 members, unveiled the producers mark concept in October 2010 with 144 notable producers endorsing the concept in order to protect the integrity of the role of producer. To receive it, a producer’s work must be vetted and certified through the PGA’s arbitration process.
Producers don’t have to be a member of the PGA to be eligible to receive the certification, which is only given to producers who request it.
The PGA’s Code of Credits spells out the qualifications for those eligible to receive the “produced by” credit for features and executive producer credit for TV. The code attaches specific weights to producer functions — 35% for development, 20% for pre-production, 20% for production and 25% for post-production and marketing — and includes job descriptions, guidelines and rules intended to help resolve credit disputes and protect the integrity of the “produced by” credit in features and exec producer credit in TV.
The PGA code requires that a person must have had substantial involvement adding up to a majority of those functions to qualify for the PGA credit. Leaders of the guild, which has over 5,600 members, have emphasized that the PGA’s mark does not govern who can receive a “produced by” credit on a pic with studios and distributors remain free to assign that credit to whomever they wish.
The PGA has made reining in the volume of producer credits its signature issue since the 1998 Oscar ceremony, where five producers were credited for best-picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.” The org held its first credit arbitrations in 2001, promulgated a Code of Credits in 2004 and gained traction in 2005 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that the PGA’s credit determination process would be the one it uses as a guideline on best picture nominations.
Vance Van Petten, who came on as national executive director more than a decade ago, said, “The federally registered ‘p.g.a.’ mark is based on the industry-standard Producers Code of Credits, used frequently by studios and filmmakers, which guides the guild’s awards process in vetting a film’s producers. It’s the ideal tool to ensure that producers receive onscreen verification of their work.”