Could money and schedule problems delay The Hunger Games sequel?

News Ryan Lambie 4 Apr 2012 - 19:32

With Gary Ross not yet signed to direct the Hunger Games sequel and commitments looming for Jennifer Lawrence, could Catching Fire be delayed...?

As you’ve probably heard by now, The Hunger Games has made an awful lot of money - and its cinema run hasn’t even finished yet. Naturally, Lionsgate have already braced themselves to make the second in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of novels, Catching Fire, and they even have a release date: November 2013.

A little over 18 months to plan, shoot, edit and market a movie with as much expectation riding on it as this already sounds like a tall order, but schedules and financial agreements may make that release frame even trickier to meet. With writer and director Gary Ross playing such a major role in The Hunger Games’ success, Lionsgate are keen to have him aboard for the next movie but, according to the Hollywood Reporter, only began negotiations three weeks before the first film’s release.

With The Hunger Games now a critical and financial hit, it’s reported that Ross has been bargaining for a pay rise, since he took a relatively low $3 million plus five percent backend gross wage to write and direct the original. Lionsgate may decide to cut its losses and sign up a different director, but then again, the studio may also be wary of fiddling with the ingredients that appealed to audiences the first time round.

There’s also a second potential stumbling block, which may also delay Catching Fire: Jennifer Lawrence’s schedule. Although she’s locked in to play Katniss Everdeen for the next two (or possibly three) Hunger Games movies, she’s also committed to return to the role of Mystique in the sequel to X-Men: First Class. Again, according to Hollywood Reporter’s anonymous source, that commitment would take priority over her Lionsgate contract, which could thwart the studio’s plans to film Catching Fire this autumn.

Whether Lionsgate decide to change directors or not, there’s no chance the studio could press ahead with Catching Fire without Lawrence. Let’s hope these various wranglings get sorted out soon.

Hollywood Reporter

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