Thursday, according to reports, Amy Pascal will step down from her leadership positions at the studio, getting a bit of a soft landing as she reportedly plans to start a production venture within Sony. Pascal is chairman of Sony Picture Entertainment's motion picture group and co-chair of Sony Pictures.
Though not a complete severing of her ties to Sony, Pascal's transition is being viewed as a way clear up the headache left by last year's the e-mail hacking scandal.
"There was so much negative publicity around this," said analyst Marla Backer with Ascendiant Capital. She said once Pascal's incendiary emails, which included comments about certain stars and President Obama, were exposed by hackers, it was just a matter of time until there was change at the top. "Her e-mails, at the very kindest, were indiscreet," Backer said.
No word yet if Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton will head the studio solo or if there will be another co-chair at some point. It may be too early speculate if this change in the leadership team will affect the pipeline and strategy for Sony's movies.
According to reports, Pascal will still be involved with some of the studios higher profile projects, including being a producer on the Ghostbusters reboot due in 2016.
Her track record at Sony Pictures includes lucrative franchises such as the Spider-Man movies. As Pascal steps down, Sony's movie pipeline for 2015 has a couple of high profile projects on the way. There is a video game-themed comedy, Pixels, with Adam Sandler coming in July and the next James Bond movie, Spectre, due in November.
But the Spider-Man franchise has a somewhat unclear road ahead.
Last year's outing, Amazing Spider-Man 2 drew $709 million for its worldwide box office. Compared with hype for the superhero genre, that can be seen as a moderate return, especially considering Guardians of the Galaxy, from Disney's (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report Marvel Studios, brought in $774 million worldwide last year with far less known characters.
Pascal will be a producer on future Spider-Man movies, according to reports, but plans for a possible Amazing Spider-Man 3, and the spinoff Sinister Six supervillains movie, are up in the air.
Box Office Mojo lists 2018 for the release of the next Spider-Man movie. However, rumors have been circulating about a possible deal to get the Spider-Man character into Disney's Marvel movies.
Reportedly there were negotiations between the studios to find ways to cooperate, but such gossip originated from details attributed to the hackers who breached Sony's email system.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.