One of the first leaked documents to come out of the Sony hack revealed numerous employee complaints about producing "mundane, formulaic" Adam Sandler movies. But according to emails recently uncovered by The Daily Beast, frustrations with Sandler were shared by Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal, who referred to the comedian and his production company Happy Madison as "assholes" on at least two occasions.
Last Friday's ranking of the top-earning actresses in Hollywood was just a tasty appetizer for the Reporter's annual, year-end feast celebrating show business lady-potency, their Power 100 list of the most influential females in a still male-dominated entertainment industry. Determined to avenge last year's loss and regain the Iron Tiara she's held in three of the last four years, Disney Media Networks co-chairman Anne Sweeney spent the last 12 months engaged in a physically punishing training regimen in preparation for her rematch with 2006 titleholder, Sony's Amy Pascal, in last night's pay-per-view Power 100 Championship Pillow-Fight Presented by Lifetime Networks
While some might find the "some of my favorite things" boxes featured in Variety's "Showmen of the Year" tribute to Sony heads Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton a feature that might be more at home in Mogul Fancy, the resourceful can always find some utility behind the whimsy: for example, knowing that Harold and Maude inspired Pascal to pursue her wildly successful career in "the biz" could lead a bold producer to begin a pitch by dousing himself in gas and lighting himself on fire or by chopping off his hand with a cleaver, creating an instant bonding moment over a shared love of the cult film. Or, you know, he could just bring along a slice of delicious cake, opting for a safer appeal to her decadent side. (For the record, Lynton's "favorite things" box indicates he's more of a ham-and-cheese sandwich guy, Plan your food bribes accordingly.)
The weekly edition of Variety officially awards its Showmen of the Year honor, the most coveted recognition in all of showbiz trade journalism (and yes, that includes Var's Billion Dollar Director Day celebration), to Sony's Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, an occasion necessitating the purchase of full-page tribute ads by any talent, producers, or agency ever hoping to get a movie made at their red-hot studio. While none of the ads make direct mention of Pascal's ceremonial bepenising by the publication, this minimalist, phoned-in-by-someone's-unimaginative-assistant offering by Spider-Man's trio of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Raimi (really, couldn't someone have thrown some spider-related clip art on there?—click the thumbnail to enlarge) nods to the co-president's honorary gender reassignment, a little in-joke that only those who've generated billions in box office grosses can get away without fear of career reprisals.
The list-compiling obsessives over at Forbes magazine have released their latest masterwork: "The World's 100 Most Powerful Penisless People," they call it. Sprinkled among the many businesswomen and politicians are a few familiar names from the showbiz realm, including DreamWorks's Stacey Snider (#87) and Disney's Anne Sweeney (#77), CBS's Nancy Tellem (#49), and Amy Pascal, coming in at an impressive #35, despite Forbes's editors obviously not being aware that she'd been graduated to full-fledged, junk-swinging man by Variety's Showmen of the Year nominating committee. The highest ranking entertainment figure was Earthly deity Oprah Winfrey at #21, but the biggest surprise on the chart came in at #24, as Big Brother's Jew-leery candidate Amber was deemed an even greater feminine force to be reckoned with than Hillary Clinton. Amber 2012!
We thought it was a little strange when Sony chief Amy Pascal, THR's Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood 2006 and one of the top-rated honorees in Premiere's celebration of the industry's most influential ladies, was left off Variety's recent Women's Impact Report, but now it all makes sense: The trade didn't want to ruin the surprise that it had awarded her its highest honor, an official promotion to Man, for an incredible year of directing her studio to the lead in motion picture marketshare. We congratulate Pascal on this recognition, and can't wait until someone sends us a cameraphone photo of the many baskets of bananas her new male peers are messengering over to ceremonially welcome her into their fraternity.
After finding out that her mega-budgeted Spider-Man 3 had, as many expected, shattered virtually all of the opening weekend box office records anyone cares about, no one would have begrudged head Sony cheerleader Amy Pascal a little celebratory gloating when the media came calling for comment. But to her credit, it appears that she decided to play things humble rather than declare she would be dedicating a large portion of the movie's proceeds to the hunting down and killing of any critic who dared doubt the project's inevitable, benchmark-setting success:
Given that the first two Spider-Man movies made Sony about $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office, it probably surprises no one to learn that the studio's relentless pursuit of another huge summer run may have resulted in the third installment becoming The Most! Expensive! Movie! Ever! Made! Still, even if the $350 million number (throw in marketing and promotion and we're at half a billion) passed along in Kim Masters' Radar story on Spider-Man 3's historic, budget-busting run are, is claimed by a flack, a "complete fabrication," the real amount is still big enough to choke even its free-spending producer:
At yesterday's breakfast and sash-and-tiara fitting to celebrate THR's naming of resilient Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal as this year's Most Powerful Non-Penised Individual in Show Business, talk quickly turned from grand, mimosa-fueled plans of rising up and slaying the male oppressors who own the multimedia conglomerates for whom they thanklessly toil to a discussion of matters of much greater import to the Hollywood power-gal on the go:
While we impatiently await the day sometime in the next five or so millennia that Hollywood's most powerful executives finally make the inevitable evolutionary leap to a new, single-gendered superspecies capable of both pre-menstrual rage and the intimidating swinging around of external genitalia, we suppose that sex-specific lists like THR's Women in Entertainment Power 100 will continue to exist. Until then, we must discuss them: For the 2006 iteration of their annual ranking of female potency, released today, The Reporter was faced with a potentially paralyzing dilemma: their entrenched two-time champion was coming off another impressive year, but a studio survivor who weathered a disastrous 2005 rebounded to release 12 number one films, a feat nearly as impressive as her escaping dismissal for thinking anyone would want to see a movie about a sentient plane made cranky by a lightning bolt.
Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal has by now almost certainly picked out the Bond-themed outfit she'll be wearing to Casino Royale's premiere, but ushering her first 007 installment into theaters has been a long road, and one that required her to relinquish the iron-fisted authoritarian control one would expect of a maverick studio head overseeing a $250 million project. The LAT takes a look at the business arrangement that led to Sony getting the keys to the tricked-out Aston Martin for the first time, but finding themselves having to immediately cede the wheel to the franchise's creative custodians, Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson: