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Spider woman scales power peak

Los Angeles, Dec. 3 (Reuters): Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures, was named Hollywood’s most powerful woman yesterday — thanks in part to the popularity of a male superhero and other box office superhits.

Pascal, who gave the go-ahead to produce the 2002 mega-hit Spider-Man, and is now preparing for its sequel, led Hollywood Reporter’s top 100 women in Hollywood list.

“Not only has the studio hit the $5 billion mark globally for the second straight year, but the filmmaking risks Amy Pascal takes often translate into box office success, which is a great barometer for power in Hollywood,” said Christy Grosz, editor of the Women in Entertainment Power 100 issue.

Pascal, 45, became one of three co-chairmen at Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Entertainment this year following the departure of long-time chairman John Calley. Pascal, who also heads Sony unit Columbia Pictures, this year oversaw such films as Anger Management, Daddy Day Care and Bad Boys 2 as well as quirkier films like Big Fish.

Heads of various movie and television studios comprised the rest of the top 10 spots on the list. Pascal rose from number three last year, when Sherry Lansing, chairman of the Motion Picture Group at Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, claimed the top spot.

Lansing fell to number four this year, while Vivendi Universal’s Universal Pictures chairman Stacey Snider ranked number two. Among others in the top 10 were Oprah Winfrey (six); Susan Lyne, president of Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Entertainment (eight); Nancy Tellem, president of Viacom’s CBS Entertainment (three); and Judy McGrath, president of Viacom’s MTV Networks’ Music Group (10).

But while women apparently rock in Hollywood, the embattled music industry could use more of a female touch.

The first entry from a recording company was Michele Anthony, executive vice president of Sony Music Entertainment, who ranked number 12.

Anthony slipped from number five last year, while Hilary Rosen, the outspoken former chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) ranked number 10.

Rosen resigned this year and was replaced by a man. The industry overall is in turmoil due to sagging sales, rampant online piracy and various mergers.

“We focus mainly on the product of Hollywood, but certainly the music industry’s downturn and immense changes had something to do with the ranking,” said Grosz.

While female music executives were scarce, the list for the first time boasted someone from the video gaming industry.

In another nod to Pascal, Kathy Vrabeck, president of global publishing and brand management at video game company, Activision Inc, ranked 100th on the list, because she licensed the video game rights to Spider-Man, bringing in more than $616 million in revenue to her division in 2002.

The show business trade newspaper began ranking the 50 most powerful women 11 years ago and expanded it to include 100 women two years ago to celebrate its 10-year anniversary.

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