Sony Pictures Co-Chair Amy Pascal is stepping down. The past few months have been about saving face for her and the studio in light of the Sony hacking that resulted in the leaking of employee information and revelations about the inner workings of the company as well as gossip about projects and celebrities sent via internal email.
While Pascal may be vacating her seat, Sony says that the move was already planned and that she will still be involved with the studio, as she will be launching her own shingle on the Culver City lot this Spring. Hit the jump for more details.
According to THR, Pascal will still be involved in producing the new Ghostbusters film as well as future Spider-Man movies.
Of the decision, Pascal said:
“I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home. I have always wanted to be a producer. [Sony Entertainment CEO] Michael [Lynton] and I have been talking about this transition for quite some time, and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-held dream and for providing unparalleled support. As the slate for the next two years has come together, it felt like the right time to transition into this new role. I am so grateful to my team, some of whom I have worked with for the last 20 years and others who have joined more recently. I am leaving the studio in great hands. I am so proud of what we have all done together and I look forward to a whole lot more.”
While there is still plenty of finger-pointing, Pascal stepping down can be seen as devastating to the industry. She was one of the few females to run a major studio. Pascal helped reboot the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale, and helped put out Academy Award-winning films like The Social Network, Zero Dark Thirty, and Moneyball.
However, the studio has failed to have a lucrative franchise. Pascal is responsible for rebooting the Spider-Man franchise for the The Amazing Spider-Man movies. Both films failed to meet expectations, and it is unclear what will happen with its sequels or spinoffs. Ghostbusters 3 didn’t pan out, but it is being retooled with an all-female cast that will be directed by Paul Feig. Pascal had disagreements with producer Scott Rudin over casting and budget on the Steve Jobs biopic, which eventually went over to Universal Pictures.
Then came the cyber attacks by North Korea in retaliation for Sony’s comedy The Interview, which featured an assassination plot against that country’s leader. It was Pascal alone who reportedly greenlit the project. The hacking resulted in Pascal’s emails being leaked which contained an assortment of gossip that attacked various figures in both Hollywood and politics, including A-lister Angelina Jolie. It’s easy to see how she’d be the casualty of the ensuing fallout, although, as with previous executives in her position, she will be continuing her relationship with the studio.
Here’s Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton on Pascal’s departure:
“I am happy to say that Amy’s decision is not the end of her relationship with the studio but the start of a new and exciting chapter in her extraordinary career that promises to be mutually beneficial. She can refocus her career on her first great love — filmmaking — and SPE can continue its association with an extremely talented and valued associate. Her decision has the full support of [Sony Corp. president and CEO] Kazuo Hirai.”
It will be interesting to see how Sony moves forward. While the studio is not short on acclaimed films — they currently have Foxcatcher and Whiplash up for numerous Academy Awards — one of their main concerns should be on their franchises, and how they can turn them from a loss to a profit.