Gary Ross Exits 'Hunger Games' Franchise; Not Directing 'Catching Fire' (Report)

Following in the footsteps of Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first “Twilight Saga” movie and then bowed out, Gary Ross is reportedly exiting the massively successful “The Hunger Games” franchise.

According to Indiewire’s blog The Playlist, Ross will not return to direct the second installment, “Catching Fire.”

The director reportedly gave Lionsgate his notice earlier this week.

Reports swirled this week that Ross and Lionsgate were finalizing contracts, but according to The Playlist, the director is not looking to repeat himself and wants to pursue other projects.

A rep for Lionsgate had “no comment” when contacted by Access Hollywood on Friday morning.

“Catching Fire” is slated to begin shooting in the fall and will hit theaters on November 22, 2013.

In related news, series star Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) will very much be available to shoot both “Catching Fire” and the sequel to “X-Men: First Class.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox will shoot the Marvel mutant sequel – where she plays shape-shifter Mystique – in January, after “Fire” is done filming.

AH Nation Poll: Will the franchise suffer without Gary Ross directing? VOTE HERE!

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