Last week, IndieWire reported that director Gary Ross had definitively exited the Hunger Games franchise, and fans were heartbroken. Almost immediately, they launched Twitter petitions and reaction videos begging Lionsgate and Ross to reconsider, because in their minds Ross’ genuine love for the series made me the best director to continue on with adapting Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
In an interesting twist, the fans’ actions can’t be written off as mere denial just yet: The Hollywood Reporter says that the prior reports are false, though Ross has not yet actually signed on for the second movie, either. As THR tells it, Ross was out of the country when IndieWire’s article ran and therefore unable to comment. He is reportedly meeting with Lionsgate now for “delicate” negotiations, as there are several difficult factors at play.
Primarily, there’s the issue of a short shoot. Star Jennifer Lawrence was locked in to the X-Men: First Class sequel before she signed on to play Katniss Everdeen, and Fox just announced that they would begin shooting in January 2013. That means that the Catching Fire crew would have from August-January to shoot the second movie — which features a much more high-tech Arena, for one — but they don’t even have a final script yet. There’s also the issue of money; who could blame Ross for wanting to raise his price from $3 million if the first movie made $450 million?
So, that’s where we’re at in waiting to see if Lionsgate and Ross can come to an agreement. In the meantime, here’s what’s gong on in the fandom. Several Hunger Games fans have created the Gary Ross Is Boss campaign, imploring their fellow Tributes to post essays and videos in the hopes of swaying the studio’s decision. After all, fans brought back shows like Firefly and Family Guy. Now more than ever, we have power.
Nervous or don’t know what to say? The fans have provided a helpful template with all the points to hit: Be creative, show your passion, but also don’t come across as disrespectful or crazy. Describe everything that Ross will bring to Catching Fire, from casting Finnick and Johanna to more Capitol intrigue. Most of all, to quote Haymitch, “make sure they remember you.”
Here’s one of the many fan videos out there:
It’s really fantastic to see the fandom united in this cause. If any group can get studios to listen, it’s the people who proved that Suzanne Collins‘ dystopian YA novels hold a universal appeal. Lionsgate has reached out to fans before with news and promotions; there’s a chance that we could sway things in our favor.