At this point, The Hunger Games has become a full-fledged cultural phenomenon after raking in over $350 million worldwide since its release a mere two weeks ago, but Lionsgate, the studio behind the franchise, is still in tense negotiations with director Gary Ross about returning for the sequel, Catching Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutchinson have already signed on for the sequels, but Ross was only signed for the original. For the first film, Ross took a pretty modest $3 million to write and direct the movie, but then it went on to become such a massive success that it’s no surprise that he wants to see a bit of a raise. However, the studio knows that The Hunger Games brand is bigger than Ross, and it isn’t quite ready to yield to his asking price just yet.

What really complicates matters is that Lawrence is signed on to The Hunger Games sequel as well as an X-Men: First Class sequel at Fox. According to the site, Lawrence’s X-Men option supersedes Lionsgate’s hold on her, and she will be contractually obligated to return to the Fox franchise before Hunger Games if both movies start production at the same time.

However, Lionsgate already booked a November 2013 release date for the sequel, so if they don’t negotiate with Gary Ross soon, they stand the risk of either losing Lawrence to her X-Men obligations or panicking and hiring a new director at the last minute. All of this can work to Ross’ favor if the studio finds itself in a desperate situation as a perfect storm seems to be on the horizon.

[via The Hollywood Reporter