Now that the Hunger Games film has lived up to all the hype and then some -- satisfying the studio with $363 million plus at the box office and fans with its solid, vivid interpretation of the book -- we're all already waiting with bated breath for the sequel, Catching Fire, to hit screens. But it sounds like there could be a serious hold-up. Noooo!
The Hollywood Reporter noted that director Gary Ross was recently in tense negotiations with Lionsgate about coming onboard for round two, and they weren't seeing eye to eye on the one thing that could be a major dealbreaker.
Sure you can guess what that is ... KA-ching! Ross received $3 million to write and direct the first flick (plus 5 percent of profits), but for Catching Fire, he reportedly wanted a "substantial increase."
Fair enough. I'm onboard with Ross (who, by the way, also happens to be a huge fan of the books!). Why shouldn't he get more? Hasn't it worked that way for other blockbuster series -- from Harry Potter to Twilight? The first flick is always a risk. But as soon as the franchise becomes a bonafide HIT, it's a Games-changer (ha!). He certainly deserves more. How much more? Well, that, I suppose, is what is up for debate, and what is holding up the production of Catching Fire.
Still, the screenwriter behind Slumdog Millionaire has started on the script, so it sounds like the show will go on either way ... But hopefully, Lionsgate and Ross reach an agreement sooner rather than later though, because the franchise needs the guy, and the proposed premiere date -- November 2013 -- is already too far away!
UPDATE: As reported by The Playlist, news broke this morning that Ross has officially decided against a return to direct Catching Fire. In addition to the salary dispute, Ross doesn't feel the subsequent two Hunger Games books are as good as the first, and he has another script he likes better and will net him more moolah. So, it looks like Lionsgate will have to find another director to helm the second film!
Here's Gary Ross discussing the first flick from the world premiere red carpet ...
Are you psyched for Catching Fire?
Image via Amazon.com