So, with The Hunger Games being such a huge hit, you would think that making the sequel would be a slam dunk, right?
That might not be the case, however.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there are a couple problems that could get in the way.
First and biggest is the fact that unlike the cast, writer-director Gary Ross was never locked in for the sequel (in many cases, talent is locked in by contract for one or two sequels if made), and he is arguably a big part in what made the first movie such a success, which means he has a lot of clout in negotiations to direct a sequel. Shouldn’t be a problem still, right? Well, Lionsgate isn’t exactly known for their generosity in such matters. And it isn’t unheard of for studios to hand over the reins to another director, even in big franchises. For example, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke was dropped after the first movie.
Ross apparently also described his original negotiations for handling The Hunger Games as “a terrible experience” – which doesn’t bode well heading into new negotiations.
An interesting bit from that article though mentions that Warner Bros. dropped Chris Columbus after the first two Harry Potter films. If memory serves, he chose to step away…although that could be code for “they didn’t offer me enough.” However, I think the 3 directors who succeeded him – Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates – did amazing jobs, and perhaps outdid Columbus. So a change in director is not necessarily the death of a franchise.
The second complicating factor is Jennifer Lawrence. Although as mentioned the cast is already locked in, she’s also locked in to a sequel to another franchise – X-Men: First Class, where she plays Raven/Mystique, and it appears that that movie, if/when it films, has contractual precedence. That could mean negotiations with Marvel/Fox or delays that could further jeopardize the hoped-for November 2013 release date for Catching Fire.