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Hunger Games sequel: Gary Ross to exit, X-Men wants Jennifer Lawrence?

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Gary Ross directs 'The Hunger Games'
The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire may lose its director Gary Ross.

Lionsgate's follow-up to March's blockbuster, which was based on the first of Suzanne Collins's best-selling Hunger Games trilogy, already has a release date pencilled in for November 22, 2013, despite Ross not being signed up for the sequel.

The Pleasantville and Seabiscuit helmer is reportedly looking to significantly up his salary from the first movie. Ross was paid $3 million to write (with Billy Ray and Collins) and direct The Hunger Games with a backend deal to take 5% of the box office gross.

Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy has penned the Catching Fire adaptation, which will potentially be revised by Ross should he agree to return.

Both the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises reshuffled their directors, with Chris Columbus stepping aside after helming the first two Potter outings and Catherine Hardwicke being replaced by Paul Weitz for New Moon.


Lionsgate is hoping to put Catching Fire in front of cameras this year in order to make the intended 2013 release.

"I think they're looking at the fall as a possibility," star Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) told Digital Spy last month.

Furthermore, 20th Century Fox could potentially delay Catching Fire if they decide to activate Jennifer Lawrence's contract option for the X-Men: First Class sequel.

Lawrence played blue-skinned mutant Mystique in the superhero prequel, and sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the X-Men contract would take priority over her Hunger Games deal.

A studio insider added of Ross's negotiations with Lionsgate: "Ultimately, it will be difficult, and yet everybody will do the sane thing, which is to work it out. Everybody will end up unhappy in their own way. It's just the nature of the beast."

Watch Jennifer Lawrence discuss The Hunger Games with Digital Spy below:

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