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As Lionsgate struggles to count all of its money from last month's release of 'The Hunger Games,' it appears the next installment, 'Catching Fire,' will experience a changing of the guard at director. Despite the fact that Lionsgate and Fox recently made nice and put together a schedule that would allow Jennifer Lawrence to star in sequels to both 'X-Men: First Class' and 'The Hunger Games,' it's been reported today that Gary Ross will not be returning to helm the further cinematic adventures of Katniss Everdeen. Ross, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the first installment, was said to have been in pretty intense negotiations with Lionsgate earlier this week over his salary and has now officially given his notice to the studio. 'Catching Fire' is set to begin shooting this coming fall.
What does this mean for the future of the series? Very little. 'Catching Fire' is still very much happening, and probably won't be delayed one iota by Ross' exit. That's not to marginalize the work he did on 'The Hunger Games,' he did a fantastic job, but when faced with a cash cow like this, Lionsgate is not going to let any setback derail the next movie. The good news here is that, while Ross certainly excelled during his time in the director's chair, it's not as if he left such an indelible mark on this franchise that no other filmmaker could step in. The source material still exists, Jennifer Lawrence is coming back, and it will be interesting to see how the overall visual aesthetic of the next film may change under a new director. For example, when Chris Columbus left the Harry Potter series after two movies, it allowed for Alfonso Cuaron to take over 'Prisoner of Azkaban,' which is still my favorite of the franchise. So now the question becomes, who will step in and take over for Ross?
Who would you guys like to see helming the next 'Hunger Games' movie?