Gary Ross May Still Return To Direct 'The Hunger Games' Sequel, 'Catching Fire', According To Sources
According to Deadline's sources, Gary Ross has "not formally withdrawn" (emphasis mine) from directing The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. If that's the case, why has Lionsgate not come out to debunk this rumor? The plot thickens! Stay tune.
Wow, this was unexpected. According to Indiewire, Gary Ross won't return to direct the sequel to the extremely successful feature adaptation of The Hunger Games ($378 million worldwide box office as of this writing). With the sequel, Catching Fire, potentially shooting this August or September, Lionsgate will now have to look for another director to replace Ross.
According to the reports, Ross left because either Lionsgate was unwilling to pay him the salary he wanted for the sequel or Ross never intends to make the sequel in the first place. The truth may be something in between.
According the Hollywood Reporter's source, negotiations during The Hunger Games was "a terrible experience" for Ross which ended up with the director being paid just $3 million plus 5% of the backend.
Ross didn't have a contract for the sequel since Lionsgate wanted to take a wait-and-see approach to see how the first movie will preform at the box office before committing to bring back the director.
Lionsgate started negotiations with Ross three weeks before The Hunger Games' release date, once they knew the movie was tracking for a huge opening. However, Lionsgate was lowballing the director again. We now know the result of that.
In the Indiewire report, Ross left the project, officially giving notice earlier this week, because he wasn't that interested in doing the sequel in the first place and wants to get moving on a project he wrote. Beside, Lionsgate's low-ball offer is something Ross could easily refused, and did.