With The Hunger Games nearing $400 million at the worldwide box office in just fourteen days of release, it is all but cemented to be one of the year’s best grossers. But it looks like director Gary Ross won’t be joining in on the franchise festivities, as The Playlist reports he has officially exited strenous talks for the sequel.

Update: We take a look at 11 possible replacements here.

It’s been known that Lionsgate was doing the first film on the cheap, only giving Ross $3 million for his directorial duties, but 5% of the back-end. He was never officially signed on for the sequel Catching Fire and last week he was in the middle of tough negotiations, reportedly a “terrible experience.” Those ended as Ross told Lionsgate and Summit that he won’t be returning.

The reason is reportedly not tied to money, rather him wanted to reinvent himself with each new film, instead of spending the next years of his life, currently at age 55, helming the rest of the franchise. He in fact already has his next film planned and while no details are available except that he wrote his own screenplay, he will be getting a bigger paycheck than Lionsgate would have given him to return to the Capitol.

With a November 22nd, 2013 release date for Catching Fire, written by Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy, expect an update on a new director soon.

Who do you think should helm the sequel?

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