SPE promotes Amy Pascal as co-chairman

MUMBAI: Amy Pascal has been promoted to co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and has extended her deal with the studio to 2011. The announcement was made by SPE chairman and CEO Michael Lynton.

In addition to her new title, Pascal will continue to serve in her role as chairman of the studio’s Motion Picture Group. Lynton remains chairman and CEO of the studio, and the two will continue to report to Sony Corporation chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer.

The move recognises Pascal’s vast contributions to the company and was initiated by Lynton, who wanted to formalise the strong relationship he and Pascal have forged as partners, managing the operations of Sony Pictures.

“This richly deserved promotion reflects the reality of our partnership here at Sony Pictures. Ever since Howard brought us together, Amy and I have been partners in running the studio, and I really wanted our titles to reflect our teamwork. Amy’s contributions to Sony Pictures, across all our divisions, have been invaluable,” said Lynton.

During the past five years combined, no studio has performed better in North America than Sony Pictures Entertainment. Since January, 2002, the studio has released 37 number one films. Sony was number one in market share in 2002 and 2004 and was number two in 2003. Sony is the only studio to exceed the $6 billion dollar mark in domestic box office sales between 2002 and 2006.

To date this year, Sony has released eight number one films, including The Da Vinci Code, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Click, R.V., Pink Panther, Silent Hill, Underworld: Evolution and When A Stranger Calls. The studio has exceeded more than $1 billion in North American ticket sales for five consecutive years, a record matched by only one other studio in the history of domestic box office.

Upcoming films from Sony Pictures include the launch of Sony Pictures Animation and their debut title Open Season, Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith, Casino Royale, the 21st James Bond adventure, The Grudge 2, and Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, among many others.

Stringer said, “When Michael came to me with the idea of naming Amy co-chair, it made perfect sense, because this is clearly a case of the whole being even greater than the sum of the parts. Michael and Amy are very talented people in their own right, but there’s a magic to their partnership that makes Sony Pictures the best studio in the business.”

“With the industry coming to terms with the challenges of a new era of entertainment, Michael and I share the same vision as we navigate Sony Pictures into the future. I couldn’t be more grateful to Michael and Howard for their unflinching faith and continued support. We have had much success over the past several years and that is a testament to the phenomenal talent of the people in production, marketing, home entertainment, television, digital and all our business units. I am extremely proud of the team we have in place and, with Michael, I look forward to building upon the record we’ve established,” said Pascal.

Under Pascal’s guidance, Columbia Pictures has made history with such blockbusters as The Da Vinci Code, which achieved the biggest international opening weekend in history, and Spider-Man. Other hits produced and released during Pascal’s tenure include Spider-Man 2, Hitch, Fun With Dick and Jane, R.V., The Grudge, 50 First Dates, Something’s Gotta Give, Closer, Big Fish, Guess Who, Bad Boys 2, S.W.A.T., Once Upon A Time in Mexico, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Panic Room, Mr. Deeds, Men in Black II, Charlie’s Angels, Big Daddy, Stuart Little and A Knight’s Tale.