'The Hunger Games' News and Notes: Box Office Records, 'SNL' Spoofs and the Return of Gary Ross?

 
Hold your horses, Hunger Games fans. Despite the news last week that Games director Gary Ross was moving on from the massive franchise, reports broke over the weekend that Lionsgate was still negotiating with the filmmaker, and he might be back to direct Catching Fire after all. 
 
Ross, according to The Hollywood Reporter, plans to meet with Lionsgate execs on Monday to figure out his role in Fire. Contrary to earlier reports, Ross has not left the Games just yet, though he also is without a solid contract at the moment. Sources close to the trade say that Ross is worried about the rigorous production schedule currently set for Catching Fire, which is racing to beat the clock so that Games star Jennifer Lawrence can move from a Fall 2012 shoot to Fox's X-Men: First Class sequel in January.
 
Those same sources use to word “delicate” when describing the negotiations between Ross and Lionsgate. 
 
If it were up to you, however, you’d want Ross back behind the lens for Catching Fire. Over the weekend, Hunger Games fans commented beneath our story, many lending support to Ross and the work that he did on the initial Games
 
“I am very disappointed that [Ross] will not be directing Catching Fire! In my opinion, he did GREAT with Hunger Games,” said Brandy Allen. “Granted, to know more of what is going on, you would need to read the book, but I love how he stayed very close to the book (although it did bother me a bit with the mocking jay pin and Rue's whistle being changed).” 
 
KDT added, “We think [Ross] did excellent with THG, and we think he should reconsider and join up for Catching Fire.”
 
It sounds like he listened, KDT. Now stay tuned to see if anything comes of these meetings, or of Lionsgate will continue its search for a successor so it can stay on schedule and begin filming Catching Fire in August.
 
In other Hunger Games news: 
 
- The film raced past the $300 million mark at the domestic box office, making it the sixth-fastest film to hit that mark and the second-fastest non-sequel (behind James Cameron’s Avatar). Needless to say, The Hunger Games is the highest-grossing film of 2012, with more than $100 million separating it from the next-highest film, The Lorax (with $198M to date). It’s also the first film released this year to hold on to the No. 1 slot on the Top 10 charts for three consecutive weekends. Very impressive.  
 
- So you’re a big-time Hunger Games fan and you’d like to bring Katniss Everdeen home with you. Toy giant Mattell has you covered. The company unveiled the first image of its Katniss Barbie, which will be in stores this August. The toy designers say that they opted to showcase Natniss’ battle clothes over her fiery interview dress or her dour Reaping wear. If you ask me, the headstrong feminist values of a warrior like Katniss directly opposes what Barbie has come to represent over the years, but maybe this is yet another social change being implemented by Suzanne Collins’ novel and Jennifer Lawrence’s tough portrayal of an iconic literary character. (Story courtesy of EW.com.)
 
- And here’s more proof that The Hunger Games is having a massive impact on pop culture: The movie was spoofed on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. "They should call it The Funger Games because everyone is having so much fun!"
 
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Next Article by Erik Davis

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