THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Pascal is a throwback to the Hollywood moguls of yore -- a gutsy and tough-minded individualist who believes in taking risks on important, and in some cases, unconventional projects, like last year's acclaimed The Social Network and next year's reboot of Spider-Man with the outside-the-box choice of Marc Webb as director. When Pascal calls, the town jumps.
Still, following the super-sized success of 2010, this year was a bit of a dip -- and how could it not be? When the year comes to a close, the studio Pascal runs with Michael Lynton will have yielded more than $3 billion in worldwide theatrical sales, down from 2010's extraordinary $3.6 billion. (In addition to Social Network with its eight Oscar noms, last year she had the international hit The Karate Kid that grossed $359 million worldwide.)
This year, The Smurfs has earned more than $540 million worldwide, and the $20 million production Bad Teacher has generated more than $210 million, but Sony's most high-profile movie -- the Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara starrer The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, based on Stieg Larsson's international best-seller, which could notch another David Fincher win -- has yet to open.
Additionally, Pascal recently had to sever ties with director James L. Brooks and likely will face belt-tightening to help parent Sony Corp., hit hard by disasters in Japan. "Everybody has to adjust to the new economy and the new world we live in," she says, "and to be responsible and still make movies we love."
Still, the industry sometimes forgets that Pascal isn't just involved with movies: She has the distinction of being the only female film company co-chair who also oversees a television division, Sony Pictures TV, whose most valuable properties include Breaking Bad and The Big C. And Sony has more than two dozen television shows on the air in primetime, syndication and cable, which translates to about a billion viewers in more than 150 countries, and a robust digital business with Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation.
But movies remain her great love and 2012 is looking good, with another James Bond movie, the 3D Men in Black III, a new Total Recall and the still-untitled Kathryn Bigelow project about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, along with Spider-Man. The seasoned Pascal, 53, has seen it all: She has been in a senior position at Sony since the 1980s and was appointed co-chair in 2006. She also has had stints at 20th Century Fox and Turner Pictures and is remarkable for having survived at the top in a business not known for executive longevity.
She attributes her staying power to her colleagues and "an environment where people have been through good and bad -- and know how to weather both."
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