Despite the fact that The Hunger Games is a mega-hit with more than $363 million earned so far, the director, Gary Ross, still hasn’t signed on to direct the sequel, Catching Fire. The stars of the film, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth had all signed on for the entire franchise, yet Ross hasn’t.
Even though he is a seasoned filmmaker with several high grossing film under his belt, such as Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, he ended up taking a relatively low payment to write and direct the film along side Billy Ray and author Suzanne Collins. (hey I wish I got paid 3 million to do anything these days)
Rumors are swirling that Ross wants a sizable raise to do the second film, and negotiations have been going on since three weeks before the film’s March 23 opening. Yet, there is still no confirmation that he will sign on to continue the franchise.
Lionsgate has already received the script from Simon Beaufoy, but Ross hasn’t revised it. And the studio is definitely in a rush to get the film movie considering they already booked a release date for November 2013.
It is not odd for the studio to not invite a director back though. The massively popular Harry Potter film changed directors after the first two films. This also happened with the world-wide phenomenon of The Twilight Saga when they did not hire the same director after the first film was released even though it was very successful.
People can argue that The Hunger Games is better received than its predecessor, The Twilight Saga, with an A CinemaScore and an 85 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes in addition to huge worldwide box office. The film also appeals to wide audience than Twilight. Ross could bet that the movie will play better and stronger in theaters and that he is a director that many studios would love to have.
Ross has said in the past that he does wish to work on the rest of the franchise because he loves the story and the actors involved. Whether it is greed on his part or the studio’s, we won’t know the fate until someone is officially signed on to direct.