‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: The Movie Is Out and So is Gary Ross, So What’s Next?

The Hunger Games just wrapped up its third weekend in theaters and, naturally, Catching Fire chatter is already taking over. Making a movie is a very temperamental process, so while the Hunger Games sequel does have a definitive due date, November 22nd, 2013, the road to that release could veer in all sorts of directions.

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We’ve been whipped around quite a bit with this whole Gary Ross/Catching Fire issue, but just last night it came to an official close. After a lengthy back and forth, some reports claiming Ross was a no-go for Catching Fire and then others saying it was still possible, we received the man’s definitive decision: Gary Ross will not continue to direct the franchise.

According to Deadline, Ross’ exit “shocked” a Lionsgate executive. In a personal statement, Ross said, “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.” He goes on to talk about how much he enjoyed making The Hunger Games and refutes claims that he’s had difficulties negotiating with the studio. In fact, Ross noted, “They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.”

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