Right now, media sites are reporting that there is trouble getting Gary Ross locked in for directing Catching Fire, mostly due to salary negotiations. Now, normally we roll our eyes when projects hit a snag due to money. Poor guy, he wants more millions. But here, we’ve got to side with Gary.
For directing The Hunger Games, Gary Ross was paid $3 million. That sounds like a lot – and it is, but not when you’re talking about the caliber of director he is. But The Hunger Games had a much smaller budget than most blockbusters and the success of a first movie of a franchise could not be guaranteed, so the relatively small salary makes sense.
But it’s two weeks after the movie’s release, and The Hunger Games has made a butt-load of money and I don’t mean $1000. Not only has the movie been a box office SMASH, making almost 5x its budget already, it has gained Lionsgate credibility with a positively received movie. It’s pretty understandable for Gary to ask for more money. He truly did a lot of hard work for the film and is a big reason why the movie had stayed as close to the book as it did while enhancing it.
Gary Ross is the ultimate Hunger Games fanboy. He’s proven it to the fans by showing how much he understands the story and what it means to us. Which is why Lionsgate would be hard-pressed to find an adequate replacement if they don’t cough up the dough. I’m sure directors would be chomping at the bit to get the Catching Fire gig, but it was such a miracle to have a director so in touch with this story that we doubt lightning can strike twice. Frankly, we don’t trust anyone else.
Switching out directors is not the way to go here. It’s what makes the Harry Potter films feel so inconsistent, and we’d be damned if we let that happen to The Hunger Games movies. The movies should have the same feel, and since Gary was such an integral part of what The Hunger Games became, losing him would make the subsequent movies different and when it comes to franchises we like consistency. So Lionsgate, you should know that we want Gary Ross to direct Catching Fire. Suck it up and pay him, please.
Think of it like an investment