Last week rumors spread like wildfire that the Hunger Games Director Gary Ross had left the franchise. Fans were shocked, only to find out that Ross had not formally walked away from Catching Fire. The incoming reports have left us in a state of emotional whiplash! Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the director and Lionsgate will be resuming negotiations for The Hunger Games sequel today, and will reach a conclusive decision by the end of this week.
Previously The Playlist had reported that Gary’s main issue with returning to franchise was fear of becoming a “filmaker who repeats himself.” However THR is reporting that the main issue for the director is the constraints of the tight filming schedule, with Jennifer Lawrence set to start filming X-Men in January.
Contrary to previous media reports, Ross—who returned from a vacation in Italy on Friday—has not exited the booming franchise. But he is not yet signed to return for the second installment,Catching Fire, and sources say the filmmaker is concerned about an ambitious production schedule that would require shooting to begin in August so that star Jennifer Lawrence can complete her work before she is due to start filming a sequel to Fox’s X-Men:First Class in January.
Sources describe the negotiations between Ross and Lionsgate as delicate. In addition to his concerns about the schedule, THR reported on Wednesday that the filmmaker would like a raise from the $3 million (and 5 percent of backend) that he received for the first film, which has passed $450 million in worldwide box office and received an 85 percent “fresh” rating from critics on Rottentomatoes.com. Ross, an accomplished screenwriter and director (Pleasantville,Seabiscuit) has several other projects in development and could choose to pursue any of them.
One option for Lionsgate is that it could attempt to “buy” more time for Ross, essentially paying Fox (or horsetrading in other ways) to bump its production schedule to accomodate the Hunger Games shoot. Or Lionsgate could move on and hire another filmmaker to take on the sequel, much like Twilight studio Summit Entertainment dropped Catherine Hardwick in favor of Chris Weitz for the second installment of that franchise.
Either way, the next week or so should bring some clarity to the future of Hollywood’s hottest movie franchises.
My head is spinning from the drama! What do you think?
Should Lionsgate try to accomodate Gary? Do we need him back?