It has taken less than two weeks for The Hunger Games to cross the $250 million mark domestically and $373 million worldwide. As we've seen in the past, when a franchise becomes profitable and the studio starts to make money, everyone else wants in on the action. While we haven't heard a peep from the stars of The Hunger Games, director Gary Ross, who co-wrote the first film, never officially signed for a sequel after what is described as a "terrible experience" negotiating the first film. Ultimately, he came away with a $3 million payday for the film along with a 5% take of the back-end.
Now with the attention turning towards Catching Fire, the second book in the Suzanne Collins trilogy, Ross is looking for a major pay raise. He points out the film's excellent reviews means the franchise will have "legs" when it hits theaters (film biz speak to say it won't hit #1 on opening weekend and then fade away to obscurity).
Certainly Lionsgate can bring on another director to replace Ross, but as we've seen in the past, this is a dangerous and often detrimental game to play. Marvel and Jon Favreau went their separate ways between the first two Iron Man movies and Twilight shuffled in different directors for each of their films, to avoid boosting salaries and production costs.
Ross beat out a handful of other directors for the Hunger Games gig including Sam Mendes, David Slade, Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Andrew Adamson (the first Chronicles of Narnia) to name a few. With The Hunger Games overwhelming global success, Lionsgate could easily pluck one of these directors to helm Catching Fire. The question is, will it be for the better?
What do you think? Should Lionsgate give Ross a pay raise to return as director for Catching Fire? Or are you in favor of the studio bringing in a new director to helm what should be another massive theatrical blockbuster hit?