Gary Ross announced Tuesday he will not direct The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, due to the short writing and preparation time required for the film’s November 2013 release date.
"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire. 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," Ross, 55, said in a statement. "And 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."
Lionsgate released a statement saying it is “very sorry” for Ross’ departure. “We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. 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,” the statement said.
Lionsgate has not chosen a replacement for Ross. The Hunger Games, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, has raked in almost $260 million in the United States since opening in late March.
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