We now know the answer to the question of whether Amy Pascal would survive the revelations of her emails during the hacker attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. She will give up the title of co-chairman and remain at the studio as some kind of producer. CEO Michael Lynton emailed staffers with the news this morning.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
The move has been widely expected ever since the studio became engulfed in one of the worst cyber attacks in corporate history and certainly the most embarrassing hit ever taken by a major Hollywood institution in the digital age.
As often is the case with ousted studio heads, Pascal will launch a major new production venture at the studio. Pascal, whose deal was up in March, will transition to the new venture in May.
“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,” she said in a statement. “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."
No decision has been made on her replacement, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation, but there is a deep bench on the Sony lot. Among her possible replacements from within the Sony ranks are former Fox studio chief Tom Rothman, who now runs TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group President Doug Belgrad, and Columbia Pictures Production President Michael De Luca.
Pascal is one of the longest serving Hollywood studio chiefs and has been praised for her role in shepherding a number of commercial and critical hits such as “Spider-Man,” “The Social Network,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “21 Jump Street” to the big screen.
The end of her tenure has been rocky, however, Pascal’s departure comes after a devastating hack of her emails left her vulnerable and compromised her relationships with top talent. Pascal has been forced to apologize to A-list actors, producers and stars after her unvarnished thoughts on various projects involving the likes of Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper were made public.
A series of racially insensitive remarks she made with producer Scott Rudin about President Barack Obama’s favorite movies — the two joked that the president was a fan of “The Butler,” “12 Years a Slave” and other films about African-American topics — led to meetings with civil rights leaders such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, along with vows to make amends.