Earlier we reported that Gary Ross was not going to direct The Hunger Games sequel, Catchiing Fire. Ross and Lionsgate have officially confirmed the news in respective press releases.
Here is what Ross had to say in his press release:
Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire. As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.
I loved making The Hunger Games – it was the happiest experience of my professional life. Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise: they empowered me to make the film I wanted to make and backed the movie in a way that requires no explanation beyond the remarkable results. And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.
I also cannot say enough about the people I worked with: Producer Nina Jacobson, a great collaborator and a true friend; the brilliant Suzanne Collins, who entrusted us with her most amazing and important story; the gifted and remarkable Jennifer Lawrence whose performance exceeded my wildest expectations, and the rest of the incredible cast, whom I am proud to call my friends.
To the fans I want to say thank you for your support your faith, your enthusiasm and your trust. Hard as this may be to understand I am trying to keep that trust with you. Thank you all. It’s been a wonderful experience.
Lionsgate had remained hopeful that Ross would return for the second film, even up through Easter weekend. Here is what Lionsgate had to say about Ross' departure:
We’re very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire. We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future.
Twilight changed directors after the first film and it did even better at the box office. I am wondering if Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment may have wanted to bring in some fresh blood to helm the sequel? The Harry Potter films were helmed by various directors, some turned out better than others, but all were awesome.
Do you think that Ross' official departure from the sequel will hurt or help this movie franchise?