Gary Ross is currently in negotiations with Lionsgate about directing Catching Fire, the upcoming movie based on the second book of the wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy.
Lionsgate is known for low-budgets, especially when it comes to paying talent. Ross, a veteran filmmaker, had to settle for far less when it came to Games than he’d ordinarily be worth for the first movie.
He made $3 million plus 5% gross, no pittance surely, especially considering the success of the film, but not very much for a director of his stature.
The cast, of course, will be back no matter what. They’ve already signed three-picture deals, and there is no renegotiating to be done for them. However, Ross is a different story, and if he doesn’t get what he’s asking, well, there’s no guarantee that he’ll stay on for the remaining films.
Will Lionsgate do the films without him? They’d almost have to at this point. A different writer and director would certainly change the tone of the films from what they would otherwise might have been. However, the studio still has Suzanne Collins, the original author of the novel, on board as a consultant. So no matter who directs the second film it is bound to do well based on sheer momentum.
There is no word on how much Ross is asking for, and no way to know what Lionsgate will decide he’s worth, but the next film already has a release window for the 2013 holiday season. This means the studio needs to kick off shooting sometime in the very near future – especially if it wants to make sure that production doesn’t get interrupted by Jennifer Lawrence’s obligation to be in X-Men: First Class 2, as her contract there is likely set up to take precedence over Hunger, since it was signed first.
The Hunger Games is in theaters now.