Just hours after we reported that an X-Men: First Class sequel won't interfere with Jennifer Lawrence's work on the next Hunger Games movie, The Playlist has broken the news that Gary Ross won't be returning as director of Catching Fire, the second installment in the Hunger Games franchise. The site is reporting that this decision isn't solely based on money as Ross simply didn't have the desire to return to the world of The Hunger Games.
Instead, Ross is apparently already working on a project with a completely different look and tone that will also pay him better than what Lionsgate was willing to do. After the success of The Hunger Games, Ross has re-established himself as one of the premier directors in Hollywood, so if there is a project more creatively stimulating out there for him, he has the clout to get it done.
Lionsgate will now have to scramble to find a new director willing to tackle an established franchise that is around five months away from filming its second installment. The Twilight and Harry Potter series have already proven that the brand itself is bigger than any director, so Lionsgate shouldn't worry about this change hurting box office receipts of Catching Fire too much.