Gary Ross will not direct ‘Catching Fire’

According to The Playlist Gary Ross will not return to direct the sequel to ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Catching Fire’.

Hit the jump for details on why Ross will not return.

We reported on the alleged negotiations going on between Ross and Lionsgate studios earlier in the week but apparently Ross had already notified the studio well in advance that he would not direct the sequel following its success at the box office.

Ross’ reasons for leaving were nothing to do with money. Ross chose to leave the franchise to pursue something different and has probably leveraged his triumph with ‘The Hunger Games’ into a passion project that might also come with a slight pay rise at another studio.

The search is now on for someone to direct ‘Catching Fire’ with the film set to go into production at the end of the year to meet a 22 November 2013 release date.

Production on ‘Catching Fire’ was almost delayed due to Jennifer Lawrence’s commitment to the ‘X-Men: First Class’ sequel, but Fox has agreed to begin production on the superhero sequel in January 2013 so ‘Catching Fire’ can have Lawrence first.

It’s sad to see Ross leave the franchise as he was instrumental in making ‘The Hunger Games’ smarter than your average teen driven book blockbuster.

Now the question is, who should replace Ross?

‘Catching Fire’ is released 22 November 2013.