Gary Ross won’t be directing ‘Hunger Game’ sequel

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The news is official now, another Hollywood relationship bit the dust much sooner than fans of the pair had hoped.  This time it’s not a curvy starlet and suave singer, instead it’s the combination that brought us the box office hit, The Hunger Games.  It’s been rumored about for weeks now that the director of the hit film will not be returning for the sequel set to be released November 22, 2013.  Despite talk that it was regarding money and a feud was ensuing between Lions Gate and Ross it would appear that the split was amicable.  Since officially announcing his decline to participate in the second movie Ross has cited time constraints for the reason for his decision.  He claims that the tight scheduling for creating and filming the movie would not allow him to achieve the film he would want to make.

In a joint statement released by Lions Gate the director assured the public of his sound relationship with the production company stating,

“I loved making The Hunger Games – it was the happiest experience of my professional life.  Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise: they empowered me to make the film I wanted to make and backed the movie in a way that requires no explanation beyond the remarkable results. And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.”

In the middle of this turmoil regarding the second movie, the first film continues to shine at the box office.  Since its much anticipated premier on March 23, the film has held the top position at the theaters for three weeks straight.  Still selling out some theaters over a week after opening.  As of this past weekend the film had earned  a domestic total of $302.8 million.

Lions Gate released a statement of their own sharing their feelings on the break-up between them and Ross.  “We’re very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct ‘Catching Fire.’ We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future.”

Despite the change in direction for Ross, the film will still have familiar faces on set.  Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth have all signed to complete the series that will total either three or four movies.  With that foundation the film may follow in its predecessor’s footprints.  The Harry Potter movies began with director Christopher Columbus and concluded with David Yates.  The change was welcomed by fans as soon as Yates proved himself by directing what critics consider some of the best Harry Potter films of the series.  As long as Lions Gate can provide a similar shift in directors, The Hunger Games will have no issue continuing the success that it has enjoyed so far.  They just need a director that can handle the pressure of high expectations.

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