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UPDATE: Gary Ross Hasn’t Left ‘Catching Fire’ Talks

***UPDATE: Deadline's Nikke Finke and Mike Fleming say that reports of Ross withdrawing himself from possibly directing the sequel to The Hunger Games are not accurate, according to multiple sources close to the project. Ross has been on family vacation and unavailable for comment.


So much for sanity. After a month of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Gary Ross will not direct the sequel to The Hunger Games. Ross gave his notice to Lionsgate earlier this week, meaning they’ll have to get someone else to direct Catching Fire, the second book of Suzanne Collins’ extremely popular series of young adult books that has taken the box office by storm.

Rumors continue to swirl over what caused the exit. Ross would effectively double his directorial catalogue by sticking with the franchise, but his status as a now in-demand director would risk drying up by series end. A common motivator, money, might not have had much a part in the decision, as both Lionsgate and Ross are sitting pretty off of the $385 million earned by The Hunger Games in the two weeks it’s been in theaters.

IndieWire notes that Ross might be moving on to an original work his own, one that actually gives him a better pay day than Catching Fire would have.

It wasn’t all bad news for Lionsgate today; the contractual struggle over who gets first dibs on star Jennifer Lawrence ended with Catching Fire remaining on schedule for a fall production start. Now they can focus on finding someone who's not already busy in the fall who can ensure that the franchise’s lucrative future remains intact. Anyone know David Yates’ number?   


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