Gary Ross Not a Lock to Return for ‘The Hunger Games’ Sequel ‘Catching Fire’

The Hunger Games is a certified mega success. It made a metric ton of bank at the box office and feels like it is only just beginning it’s reign in the limelight. So it seemed like a forgone conclusion that director Gary Ross would continue forth with the franchise and tackle the next installment. Not so fast.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the negotiations are in a rocky place:

Sources say Ross, 55, would like a significant raise for a secondHunger Games, but Lionsgate didn’t kick off negotiations with him until about three weeks before the first film’s March 23 opening. By then, with tracking suggesting a huge opening weekend, Ross and his CAA reps were in no hurry to bargain.

Lionsgate has a script from Simon Beaufoy that Ross has yet to revise. The studio is in a rush to start the next film in the fall, though Fox might upset Lionsgate’s plan by exercising its option on Lawrence to start another X-Men movie first. (Fox’s option would trump Lionsgate’s hold on Lawrence, say sources.) Adding urgency: Lionsgate already has booked a November 2013 release for Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Lionsgate has it’s hands full in juggling the stars and the schedule to make sure Catching Fire hits cinemas in November 2013, so Gary Ross better be careful and not negotiate himself right out of the movie. He deserves a payday for the massive hit he made the first film, but lots of franchises are doing just fine with a rotating director carousel these days.

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