It may be a bit premature, but things might not be good for director Gary Ross’s chances to helm Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. According to the Hollywood Reporter, negotiations for the first movie were "a terrible experience," and the second goa-round haven’t gone any quicker. Ross would presumably like a raise, but there isn’t great precedent for studio loyalty on big budget adaptations: the first directors on the Harry Potter and Twilight movies were replaced, with zero impact on critical or box office acceptance. THR’s sources posit that a deal will eventually get worked out, to everyone’s mutual dissatisfaction. "Everybody will end up unhappy in their own way," said one of those sources. "It’s just the nature of the beast." Not quite encouraging for morale.
Ross will have The Hunger Games’ positive Rotten Tomatoes reviews on his side, as well as the movie’s big box office take. To counter, Ross himself is probably the 39th reason why anyone wanted to see the movie, in between "Effie Trinket’s wig" and "the ripple in Josh Hutcherson’s left bicep when he’s running." While The Hunger Games was competently put together, that has more to do with the source material than any great auteurship on end. There are plenty of directors who could extricate the best elements out of a property that millions of people love, one who could presumably be found in the Hollywood soup line. Why join the unemployed ranks if you don’t have to?