UNDER PRESSURE FROM INVESTORS WHEN SUCH PRICEY MOVIES AS Will Smith's After Earth and the Roland Emmerich-directed White House Down fell well short of expectations, Pascal and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton were forced to cut $250 million in costs by 2016 and trim the studio's slate. "The crowded box office this summer made it more difficult for new films to connect with audiences and even more difficult for them to hold from week to week," she says. But Pascal is still Hollywood's most influential female film executive. This year she brought in Tom Rothman to reboot the studio's TriStar label and Michael De Luca to a production job; Captain Phillips has collected nearly $189 million worldwide; and David O. Russell's American Hustle, which Sony will distribute, promises to be an awards contender. Next summer could be big with May's The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Lately she has taken to reminding the town that she oversees Sony TV, home to Breaking Bad, its nascent spinoff and NBC's The Blacklist, fall's top new drama. "Change is never easy," says Pascal -- married to journalist Bernard Weinraub; they have a teenage son -- of a year that saw the exit of several Sony execs. "But we are focused on building for the future." -- GREGG KILDAY