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April 11, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The Hunger Games director Gary Ross stunned fans of the Lionsgate franchise Tuesday by announcing that he will not direct the second film in the trilogy, Catching Fire, which is scheduled to begin shooting in August. It is set to open on Thanksgiving weekend next year. “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 said in a statement.” Ross, who also co-wrote the screenplay with novelist Suzanne Collins and reportedly had been working with her on the sequel, seemed to suggest that talks with Lionsgate about the sequel did not break down over money. He wrote that “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.” Ross is known for taking a prodigious amount of time with the projects he undertakes. The problem that Lionsgate now faces is finding a director who is willing to take on the task that Ross says he could not accomplish within the time frame set down by the studio.