In late breaking news, director Francis Lawrence has become Lionsgate's choice to head up Catching Fire, the highly anticipated sequel to The Hunger Games. This comes less than two weeks after Gary Ross, THG's director, made his decision not to be involved with the rest of the franchise. His decision was due to the filming schedule for Catching Fire and the high demand for the film's star Jennifer Lawrence, who will be splitting her time between filming the movie adaptation of the next installment of the Hunger Games series and the sequel to 2011's X-Men: First Class, in which she played a young Mystique. The wildly successful Hunger Games adaptation has grossed $336,666,363 as of April 15, $152,535,747 of which is the total for the opening weekend.
Francis Lawrence is no stranger to book-to-movie adaptations. 2007's I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, is based on a novel of the same name by author Richard Matheson. It is an apocolyptic thriller, which is not too far removed from the dystopian setting of The Hunger Games and the rest of the series. He was the director for Constantine, based on the comic book Hellblazer; the 2005 film which starred Keanu Reeves as the title character. Lawrence also directed 2011's Water for Elephants, based on the book by Sarah Gruen. Most recently, he directed the pilot for the new Kiefer Sutherland show Touch and is filming Gotham, a pilot for ABC. He is also adept at music video direction and It is quite evident that his directorial background is diverse, but can he bring the writing prowess of Gary Ross?
It is reported that Lionsgate has set a date of November 22, 2013 to release Catching Fire, so whomever they chose would be facing a time crunch. With Jennifer Lawrence shooting the X-Men sequel, they would need to be able to accommodate the shooting schedules of both films. Catching Fire would need to finish in January so that she can begin filming for the X-Men movie, as she is contractually bound to Fox in an agreement that overrides her contract with Lionsgate.
What do you think about the news that Gary Ross is no longer directing Catching Fire? Do you think that this change of direction will be good for the franchise?
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