Hunger Games’ Gary Ross Drops Out of Catching Fire Sequel

Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Director/Co-screenwriter Gary Ross at The World Premiere of Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games" at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  Eric Charbonneau/

The Hunger Games will be following in Twilight's footstep by having a new director step in for the sequel.

Gary Ross, 55, released a statement Tuesday announcing he will not direct Catching Fire, the second installment of Lionsgate's The Hunger Games franchise.

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"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire," Ross said in a statement obtained by Deadline. "As a writer and a director, 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." 

"And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic," he added. "They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision."

Both The Twilight Saga and Harry Potter franchises, which were also adapted from popular book series, used different directors for the installments. Twilight rotated between four directors for the four films and Harry Potter used four directors for their eight movies.

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Lionsgate also released a statement regarding Ross' departure from the blockbuster films.

"We’re very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire. We were really looking forward to making the movie with him," the statement reads. "He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future."

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The Hunger Games recently celebrated their achievement being the number one film, book and album in the country by releasing a new TV spot titled "Trifecta" on YouTube. The film has already earned nearly $260 million domestically since its March 23 opening. Catching Fire is schedule for release in November 2013. No production or release date has been released for Mockingjay, the third book in Suzanne Collin's young adult trilogy.

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