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Director Gary Ross not returning for Hunger Games sequel?

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Well, here’s a shocker.

Gary Ross’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games has been a rip-roaring success both critically and financially and with the hiring of Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) to adapt the second book in the trilogy, Catching Fire, everything seemed to be moving ahead swiftly.

But now word has come out that there appears to have been a breakdown in negotiations between Ross and Lionsgate Studio, resulting in the director apparently deciding to call it quits on the franchise.

Most accounts of the negotiations breakdown are reporting that Ross has pulled out due to receiving an unacceptably low offer from the studio, which is rather puzzling seeing as how The Hunger Games is currently not only bringing in money by the boatloads, but with the Twilight franchise about to wrap up, Lionsgate has no other big budget tentpole franchises left in their stable. All this would leave you to believe that they would be willing to meet any of Ross’ demands, especially salary.

AICN however are reporting that it wasn’t just the lowball offer that drove him away from the negotiating table. As reported earlier, star Jennifer Lawrence is scheduled to start shooting the X-Men: First Class sequel in January 2013, and with production on Catching Fire only set to begin in August that would leave just 4 months available to Ross and his crew. And with the script not finalized yet, locations still needing to be scouted, casting still needing to be done and Lawrence still needing to go back into training for the role, that may just be too tight a schedule for Ross to accept.

While the talented Lawrence has been lauded for her performance in The Hunger Games, a lot of the film’s success has also been lain at the feet of Ross, so it would certainly be a big blow if the director is really not returning. Currently nothing has been confirmed yet, but we’ll bring you more on the story as soon as we hear it.

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

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