"The Hunger Games" director Gary Ross may have openly said he's "committed" to helm the second movie in the franchise, "Catching Fire," but when it comes to showbiz, money really does all the walking.
Now that "The Hunger Games" has proven its box office muster with more than $253 million in domestic receipts, and we're all ravenous for the second installment to go forward with Ross in tow, it seems he's putting a higher price-tag on his services than the studio would like to oblige.
The Hollywood Reporter sparked the news today that negotiations to solidify Ross' return for "Catching Fire" are becoming, well, fiery.
According to their report, while the three leading actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are all locked in to reprise their roles, Ross isn't contracted for it just yet. Ross apparently commanded $3 million plus 5% of the back end for "The Hunger Games," and now he's looking for a "significant raise" before signing on for movie two.
Evidently, this is in part due to the fact that negotiations for his return didn't begin until about three weeks before the movie's opening, and by then, the film was tracking out the wazoo, so Ross likely already knew what "The Hunger Games" would reap at the box office.
Worse still, if the flame on this issue isn't put out soon, THR reports things could get messy with Jennifer Lawrence and her obligations to the "X-Men: First Class" franchise. Fox has apparently got the one-up on Lionsgate with regard to Lawrence (she plays Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique), and they could exercise their option to start a sequel before things get going on "Catching Fire," thusly interrupting Lionsgate's plans to go forward with production on the film this fall.
Lionsgate has Nov. 22, 2013, locked in as a release date for "Catching Fire," so the heat is definitely on to get this situation resolved as quickly as possible.