"When Sherry Lansing wants to peruse a project that is potentially risky, her tendency to share the financial burden with other studios helps counterbalance the risk," said Christy Grosz, managing editor of the trade's Women in Entertainment issue. "It's the business savvy and goodwill within the entertainment community that pushed her to the top of this year's Power 100."
The Reporter began ranking the 50 most powerful women in 1991, but expanded it last year to include 100 women to celebrate the list's 10-year anniversary.
Stacey Snider, who runs Universal Pictures, ranked No. 2. She occupied the No. 1 spot last year.
Rounding out the top 5 were Amy Pascal, vice chairman of Sony Pictures, ranking third; Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Entertainment at No. 4; and Michele Anthony, executive vice president, Sony Music Entertainment, at No. 5.
"No longer are female stars just 'the talent.' They could very well be the path to parity for all women working in entertainment," Grosz said, adding that Roberts' ability to open a movie, command a big paycheck and run her own production company gives her the clout to hire whomever she chooses.
Women leading the four Hollywood guilds also made the list, including Kathleen Kennedy, president of the Producers Guild of America (46), Melissa Gilbert, president of the Screen Actors Guild of America (89), Martha Coolidge, president of the Directors Guild of America (96), and Victoria Riskin, president of the Writers Guild of America (97).
Criteria for the Power 100 include each woman's position within her company, her force of personality and how much money she controls.
Despite the increasing number of women in Hollywood's executive ranks, however, the Reporter notes that the percentage of female writers dropped from 14 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2001. Female directors dropped from 11 percent in 2000 to 6 percent in 2001.