Director Gary Ross officially out of HUNGER GAMES sequel, CATCHING FIRE

I wonder what Catherine Hardwicke thinks about all this?

In a move that strangely echoes that of the TWILIGHT director who also parted ways with the franchise despite its enormous success, Gary Ross has officially announced his departure from THE HUNGER GAMES series. The follow-up to Lionsgate's rather successful film, CATCHING FIRE, is due to be released in November of 2013. Apparently, it's just not enough time for Ross to do what he needs to do the way that he needs to do it.

In a statement released yesterday, Ross acknowledged rumors that had been swirling for weeks regarding his possible departure.

"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct CATCHING FIRE.  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."

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Gary Ross holding out on CATCHING FIRE?

Despite making a literal boatload of cash, it appears as though director Gary Ross may be jumping ship for the inevitable HUNGER GAMES sequel.

THR is reporting that Ross is wanting a “significant raise” to helm the sequel, CATCHING FIRE, throwing quite a wrench into Lionsgate’s plans to get this sequel up and running prior to star Jennifer Lawrence leaving to go shoot the much talked about sequel to X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.

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Theatrical Review: THE HUNGER GAMES

What exactly are audiences expecting from THE HUNGER GAMES? If you want romance, what you get is a forced relationship formed as a means to survive, even if there is a definite spark between the two leads (Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark). If you want action, there are definitely some surprisingly violent moments and a few chase scenes, but once the games start, the televised battle isn't as exhilarating as you might imagine.

THE HUNGER GAMES is a very confident film - well executed within a fully established world - but it's the kind of film that might not satisfy the expectations you have going in. Aligning itself with the source material, THE HUNGER GAMES is quite somber at times, defining itself in quieter moments instead of being beholden to its bold, futuristic landscape.

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MACHINE GUN PREACHER nabbed by Relativity, set for September release

MACHINE GUN PREACHER will hit theaters in the fall

Gerard Butler leads MACHINE GUN PREACHER, playing a reformed drug dealer who works to save refugee children in East Africa. It doesn’t really sound like awards bait, but director Marc Forster certainly disagrees.

He personally asked Lionsgate to give the film’s distribution rights over to Relativity for an awards campaign, mainly for Butler’s leading performance. GATW’s own Joshua Brunsting earlier reported on it, and now the deal has been officially confirmed.

MACHINE GUN PREACHER will have a limited release in New York and Los Angeles on September 23, with a wide release to follow. Despite a few awful film choices, Butler has proven his acting chops before, so I’ll refrain from dismissing his chances entirely. Continue reading

Gary Ross to direct Carey Mulligan in sci-fi thriller OUTBACK

gary ross to direct carey mulligan in australian sci-fi thriller outback

GK Films have acquired sci-fi thriller spec OUTBACK, a unique concept conceived by screenwriter Nissar Modi and director Gary Ross.

Modi has been hired to write the script, with Ross in line to take on directorial duties once his obligations with Lionsgate's THE HUNGER GAMES are complete, which is currently due for release on March 23, 2012.

In addition, Variety are reporting that blossoming actress Carey Mulligan will take on lead role and, although plot details and character descriptions are being kept closely guarded, OUTBACK will be set in the Australian wilderness, making is sound similar in vein to Greg Mclean's WOLF CREEK, but with an intriguing futuristic twist. Continue reading

UPDATED: THE HUNGER GAMES series to make four movies out of three books?

UPDATED: Deadline now reports that, though this four-movie swing isn't set in stone, "Lionsgate has covered itself by signing the cast to option deals that encompass all four films." They also report that the split would see the final book, Mockingjay, split in half for two movies. This, of course, is also contingent on how the first film does at the box office. Bizarrely enough, the Deadline report also continues to speak of director Gary Ross as the only director for all films, though it's not been previously reported that he was set for the entire series.

Oh, come on. In news that will shock absolutely no one, Lionsgate has apparently been holding out on us, as it looks as if THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy of books will see the big screen in four parts, not three. After Summit went the same route with the final book from The Twilight Saga and Warner Bros. gave the same treatment to HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, this is all just par for the course. But, where will Lionsgate get four movies from three books that are all evenly paced and all clock in around the same page count?

/Film spotted the hidden bit of news in Deadline's story about how Lionsgate is already hailing THE HUNGER GAMES as a cash cow, and went ahead to confirm it with Lionsgate, so this is not just a rumor. The rep confirmed that they "have a deal that encompasses 4 movies.” However, this confirmation did not include any news on how the books would be split to form four movies. As there's been no news on the first film, set to come out next year, being split, we can only assume that such a cleave would come either to CATCHING FIRE or MOCKINGJAY. Continue reading

Producer Megan Ellison triumphs over Lionsgate for the rights to TERMINATOR

The lovely Kate Erbland mentioned this in her Cannes acquisition roundup earlier but, seeing how this is some of the biggest news to come out of France since someone saw someone else's underpants after they also saw London, here is the expanded version.

Producer Megan Ellison (TRUE GRIT, KILL BIN LADEN) and her Annapurna Films company beat out Lionsgate in a bid for the rights to make at least two more TERMINATOR films. It looked as if Lionsgate would be the victor on late Thursday, but Ellison won it out in the final hours. The winning bid was not disclosed, but Deadlineis reporting it could have been as high as 20 million dollars upfront, or around "half of the $29.5 million that Pacificor spent to claim the property in a bankruptcy auction." Ellison had no domestic distributor attached at the time of the bout, so this could turn out to be one hot ticket item in Tinseltown, making her risky offer not so risky after all. Continue reading

LEATHERFACE 3D gets a director

2003's THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake was one of the films that jumpstarted the modern trend of horror remakes. It ended up being an insanely scary movie, and even led to a 2006 prequel. The idea of a third film to join the new era of Leatherface has been around since 2009, with 3D being one of its major selling points. Then the film seemingly disappeared, until now.

Director John Luessenhop is now in talks to join the project. The helmer most recently directed TAKERS. Continue reading

Elizabeth Banks in talks for THE HUNGER GAMES

elizabeth banks in talks for the hunger games

Elizabeth Banks (THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN) is in talks to star as Effie Trinket in Lionsgate's THE HUNGER GAMES.

Banks would star opposite Jennifer Lawrence (WINTER'S BONE), Josh Hutcherson (THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT), Liam Hemsworth (THE LAST SONG), Amandla Stenberg (WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO), and Dayo Okeniyi (EYES TO SEE).

THE HUNGER GAMES, an adaptation of Suzanne Collins' sci-fi novel, centers on a young girl (Lawrence) who joins a survival contest in order to save her community in a dystopian future. The character of Effie serves as an "escort" to Lawrence and Hutcherson's characters, a sort of guide to the Hunger Games and their rules and ways. Continue reading

Giveaway: Win RABBIT HOLE on Blu-ray


Gordon and the Whale has teamed up with Lionsgate Home Entertainment to give our readers the chance to win RABBIT HOLE on Blu-ray. For your chance to win, all you have to do is fill out the form after the break. Deadline ends at 11:59 PM on Monday, April 18th. On Tuesday, April 19th, we will a winner via random drawing and notify them by email. Good luck, movie lovers! RABBIT HOLE is available on Blu-ray April 19th!