Gary Ross Will Not Return to Direct ‘Catching Fire’

After all the rumors and reports, it has been confirmed that Gary Ross will not return to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games.

Late last night, Ross released a statement saying, “As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.”

Lionsgate added, “We were really looking forward to making the movie with him,” the studio said in a statement. “He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work.”

Catching Fire is set to go into production later this year in order to film before Jennifer Lawrence has to film the X-Men: First Class sequel in January.

Ross also said in his statement, “Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise,” Ross said. “And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.”

Ross not only directed, but helped write the script for The Hunger Games, which has already grossed over $300 million.

Who do you think should take over the reigns and direct Catching Fire? Are you bummed Gary Ross won’t return?