Women in Entertainment 2010 - Power 100 List
In a town that has become increasingly corporate, Pascal stands out as one of the most individual executives around and one prepared to go out on a limb for the people and projects she believes in — despite also overseeing about 5,900 employees worldwide and a company that generated $7.58 billion in operating revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31. There’s a sheer imaginativeness about her that few of her peers can rival. Any executive would twist himself into a pretzel to make Men in Black III; any executive would do the same to keep the Spider-Man franchise going. But how many would give the green light to an adult drama about kids with the unlikely title The Social Network and allow its director, David Fincher, to cast it without big-name actors? And how many would put their studio’s most important franchise in the hands of an almost untested director like (500) Days of Summer’s Marc Webb, as Pascal is doing for the Spider-Man reboot? As one top agent said of her, there’s simply no other executive in town who has Pascal’s guts and her willingness to follow them, nor her commitment to dive into each film she makes. Partly, she has been helped by SPE chairman Michael Lynton, one of the few genuine Hollywood intellectuals and a corporate master, providing the best male/female partnership at a major since Sherry Lansing and Jonathan Dolgen had their heyday at Paramount. Of course, even more than by Lynton, Pascal has been boosted by stellar box office: Although her studio is unlikely to surpass last year’s record-breaking worldwide haul of $3.6 billion, it should come pretty close. The Karate Kid was 2010’s surprise hit with $359 million worldwide. That was followed by hits Grown Ups ($271 million) and Resident Evil: Afterlife ($290 million). Pascal has come miles since her first steps on the job, when the “chick flicks” she favored fell flat. Another hit, Salt, was one of the rare female-driven blockbusters; it earned $294 million and was further proof of Pascal’s willingness to take risks. (Who else would take a vehicle intended for Tom Cruise and put a woman in the role instead?) Pascal is that rarest of Hollywood creatures: an original who can still function in a studio system that has all but crushed originality. “We aren’t afraid to look at what we do right and what we do wrong,” she says.
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