Amy Pascal is sticking with her gig as co-chairman at Sony Pictures Entertainment for the moment.
Why shouldn’t she? She’s been ensconced at Sony for 20 years now. She has her run of the place. One can argue that Pascal enjoys the best aspects of running a major studio without the administrative headaches that usually go with it–the business side is covered by her partner for seven years, SPE co-chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, the yin to her yang. He’s quiet, circumspect, reasoned, cool, brilliant, politically deft. She is noisy, mercurial, neurotic, needy, creative, brilliant, charming. (If you can, get your hands on the episode of AMC’s Shootout during which Pascal lets down her hair with the two Peters, Guber and Bart. She’s showing off what she knows, flirting with two older men, throwing caution to the winds, all at once. It’s great to watch.)
So, the not surprising news is that Sony is extending Pascal’s employment agreement by five years. Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Pascal and Lynton supervise 6000 employees around the world and “all lines of business for the studio, including motion pictures (Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems and TriStar Pictures), worldwide television production and distribution, home entertainment, and digital productions (Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation),” according to Sony’s press release. Mainly, though, Pascal runs the movies, which is no small thing. Sony is coming off a good year with a slate that grossed more than $2 billion in worldwide box office revenues. Last year, Sony Pictures scored its best year ever at the worldwide box office with nearly $3.6 billion in theatrical ticket sales from such films as Angels & Demons, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2012, Zombieland, Julie & Julia, The Ugly Truth and District 9.
Sony’s biggest 2010 hits are the remake The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith ($359 million worldwide); Adam Sandler’s biggest hit to date, Grown Ups (more than $271 million); the Angelina Jolie action–thriller Salt (more than $294 million) and Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Afterlife (more than $242 million). Less revenue-generating are Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts (more than $203 million); Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s The Other Guys ($169 million) and Oscar contender The Social Network, which is still playing out its hand (nearly $185 million worldwide to date).
Coming up is a slate of mainstream commercial fare: James L. Brooks’ comedy How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson; Just Go With It, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston; Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake; The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou and directed by Michel Gondry; the VFX actioner Battle: Los Angeles; The Smurfs, a live-action/animated family comedy from Sony Pictures Animation, and another comedy, The Zookeeper, starring Kevin James. And there’s also David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Moneyball and some other movies for actual adults.
The big tentpoles coming in 2012 are the reboots of Spider-Man and Men in Black. Those everybody is going to want to see.