Despite the internet hubbub last week about Gary Ross quitting The Hunger Games’ franchise, talks are set to restart later today between the director and studio to try to prevent such an exit from happening. These negotiations are all about money as both sides clearly want Catching Fire to be a Gary Ross-directed feature. The first installment of the series opened to the type of critical and audience acclaim that studios can only dream of while Ross is grabbing 5% of one of the biggest back-ends in Hollywood’s history. It is clearly in their interests to resolve this conflict and the sooner the better.
Why? In order to shoot the sequel to The Hunger Games this year, they need to start shooting in the fall. The series’ star Jennifer Lawrence has an overriding option through Fox to do any X-Men: First Class sequels, and since that studio has recently attached a January shoot date to the movie, it would make Catching Fire very hard to produce in time for its November 2013 release date.
The expectations are that this will indeed be resolved, and that shooting will in fact start in the fall for the sequel. There is just too much money here to let this franchise fall apart at the seams. With it looking as if Lionsgate has the most to lose from a falling out, expect a big pay increase headed Gary Ross’ way.