‘The Hunger Games’ Director Gary Ross Confirms: He Won’t Return For Sequel

Lionsgate and ‘The Hunger Games‘ director Gary Ross are parting ways before the studios begins the process of producing the movies sequel, despite the fact that the movie has earned more than $300 million in the United States alone while setting various box office records along the way.

Rumors had originally pointed to contentious negotiations between Ross and Lionsgates however Ross shot down those rumors on Wednesday, telling the Los Angeles Times:

“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.”

Ultimately Gary Ross didn’t believe he would have enough time to direct Catching Fire on the “fixed and tight production schedule” set forth by Lionsgate. The next movie is set for a release date that is just 19 months away for which Ross says that shooting schedule is —”not a luxurious timetable, but hardly a bang-bang one either.”

The Hunger Games in the meantime continues to bring in millions of dollars for the studio while garnering both good and bad press. Most recently the films star Jennifer Lawrence has come under attack by PETA after telling Rolling Stone that she skinned a squirrel in Winter’s Bone and then announced:

“I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA. But screw PETA,” to which PETA responded that Lawrence “is young and the plight of animals somehow hasn’t yet touched her heart. As Henry David Thoreau said, ‘The squirrel you kill in jest, dies in earnest.'”

Apparently PETA killing 95% of the Animals it brings in somehow doesn’t remove them from the moral highground.

The movie has also been plagued with a string of racist attacks after characters from the book series were replaced with black actors, a move that didn’t sit well with some readers of The Hunger Games book series who shot their mouths off all over Twitter and Facebook.

In any case Gary Ross is out, Lionsgate will find a new director if they haven’t already and in 19 months we’ll likely have another massive hit on our hands.