Sony Pictures management in Japan has given the shove to co-chairman Amy Pascal, apparently for the costly Sony hack scandal. Evidently Sony brass felt that a symbolic change had to happen in order to send a message that….what, studio chiefs need to be luckier? Or more cautious in approving politically-tricky comedies that wind up costing management tens of millions? One could argue that if the despotic ruler of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s The Interview hadn’t precisely been Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, the whole mess might not have happened. Maybe. Or perhaps Sony’s Tokyo-based owners felt that Pascal should have been more guarded or measured in her emails? Or that the episode caused, in their eyes, a general loss of corporate face that could only be countered with the installing of new leadership? Something in this realm.
Amy Pascal will continue as Sony co-chairman until May.
When well-ensconced studio chiefs leave their posts they often launch a production company with an exclusive distribution deal for the studio that discharged them, and that’s what Pascal will be doing — starting a production “venture” based on the Culver City lot, with Sony distributing whatever she produces. Pascal will be well paid, stretch her creative legs, help launch a few features (presumably with a significant percentage to be made by or be about women) and so on for at least four years. Everyone will be happy.
Mark Seal‘s just-posted Vanity Fair piece about the Sony hacking scandal includes the following near the end:
“Pascal returned to work on Monday, January 5, the town clamoring to work with her, or for her. Pascal does not act as if she’s going anyplace anytime soon. She is excited to be developing Ghostbusters 3, an all-female version of the 1984 hit comedy, which she feels will become the studio’s first female franchise.
“[But] some insiders are cynical about the support [for Pascal], so late in coming. ‘I guarantee you, somebody who is telling Amy Pascal that they’re there for her and ‘Please let me know if there’s anything I can do’ is, on the side, angling for her job,” says a rival studio executive.”
“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,” Pascal said in an official release about her departure. “I have always wanted to be a producer. Michael [Lynton] and I have been talking about this transition for quite some time” — what, since last December? — “and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-held dream and for providing unparalleled support. As the [Sony] slate for the next two years has come together, it felt like the right time to transition into this new role.
“Amy has had a truly extraordinary career,” said Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corporation. “In her years at Sony Pictures, Amy worked with some of the best talent in the film industry to create many of our studio’s most beloved and successful films. I want to thank her for her years of dedication and I am pleased that she will continue to work closely with SPE in her new venture.”