Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

As Helmer Gary Ross Plays Hardball With Salary, Could 'Hunger Games' Sequel 'Catching Fire' End Up With A New Director?

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 4, 2012 at 1:11PM

"The Hunger Games" is that rarest of things in the movie industry: an unqualified smash hit. In a world where tentpoles cost upwards of $200 million, Lionsgate's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' popular young-adult novel cost far less, but is doing the same kind of numbers: after the third-biggest opening weekend of all time, it's now taken more than $250 million in the U.S. alone, and half as much again abroad, making everyone involved very, very happy. But as franchises from Marvel to "Twilight" have displayed, once the studio starts making money, everyone else wants in on the action, and that starts to mess around with the business model.
11
Hunger Games Gary Ross

"The Hunger Games" is that rarest of things in the movie industry: an unqualified smash hit. In a world where tentpoles cost upwards of $200 million, Lionsgate's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' popular young-adult novel cost far less, but is doing the same kind of numbers: after the third-biggest opening weekend of all time, it's now taken more than $250 million in the U.S. alone, and half as much again abroad, making everyone involved very, very happy. But as franchises from Marvel to "Twilight" have displayed, once the studio starts making money, everyone else wants in on the action, and that starts to mess around with the business model.

Lionsgate knew they had a hit on their hands even before "The Hunger Games" hit theaters: they'd already commissioned a script for follow-up "Catching Fire" from Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" writer Simon Beaufoy and set the film for a November 2013 release date. But now that the film's a monster hit, they've found a couple of speedbumps, most crucially when it comes to Gary Ross, who directed and co-wrote the first film. The Hollywood Reporter ran a story today that says Ross has never been signed for the sequel officially, and after what's described as the "terrible experience" of negotiations for the first film, he came away with a relatively low $3 million payday.

And while he's got what's sure to be a lucrative 5% take of the back-end (although it's unclear if that's of the film's gross or the murkier net), he's looking for a major raise for the second film, arguing that the film's excellent reviews mean that it'll have better legs than some of its competition (fair enough), and that should he decide to look elsewhere, he'd have his pick of projects (certainly true). But it's a dangerous game to play: the "Twilight" series went for a different helmer for each of their first four movies, in part to avoid boosting salaries, and Marvel and Jon Favreau went their separate ways after the first two "Iron Man" movies.

Indeed, one only has to look at the latter studio, which has looked mostly at TV directors for their sequels to "Thor" and "Captain America," to see that for most companies, the brand name will prove more important than the director, and we can't imagine many of the key teen demographic will boycott the sequel because the guy who did "Seabiscuit" isn't in charge this time round. Things are complicated further because the company is in a rush to get the film into theaters for next November, although that could be disrupted due to Fox having a prior option on star Jennifer Lawrence for the inevitable "X-Men: First Class" follow-up and the company is aiming to get Matthew Vaughn's sequel before cameras before the end of the year.

Ross had no shortage of competition when he landed the gig for the first film: he beat out Sam Mendes, David Slade ("Twilight: Eclipse"), Francis Lawrence ("I Am Legend"), Andrew Adamson ("The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe"), Rupert Sanders ("Snow White and the Huntsman") and Susanna White ("Generation Kill") for the job, and it's possible that some might be interested if the position became available, and the studio have plenty of directors who are even cheaper to pick from. All that being said, Ross certainly deserves recognition for helping the film become such a giant hit, and we're sure that things will get ironed out in good time. What do you think? Would you prefer Ross to make way for new blood? Who would you pick to helm the sequel? Weigh in below. Whoever ends up directing it, "Catching Fire" is currently set to hit theaters on November 22, 2013.

This article is related to: Hunger Games, Gary Ross, Lionsgate, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates