The odds are evidently not in favor of Gary Ross returning to the director's chair for CATCHING FIRE, which is, of course, the sequel to the already insanely successful THE HUNGER GAMES. There have been rumblings all week about Ross not coming back to continue the franchise unless the price was right, and now it appears as though he's abandoned the tributes for good. (By the way, that's him on the right keeping Jennifer Lawrence's shoulder warm.)
That's the story according to The Playlist, anyway. But according to the site, money wasn't the only issue at play; the director is evidently just not interested in returning to the world of Panem again. Being a big-time screenwriter/script doctor, he's not hurting for money, so essentially it boils down to the man being the creative equivalent of a rolling stone. Got to respect that.
For Lionsgate, the task at hand will be finding someone to take Ross' place. They'll look for someone they don't have to pay a huge sum, naturally, but also someone who can recreate the HUNGER GAMES magic. This isn't like the TWILIGHT series; THE HUNGER GAMES was well-received critically as well as commercially, so the studio most likely won't resort to just slopping out crap they know will generate money. They want another genuinely good movie, which means not hiring "insert name of hack/music video director here."
CATCHING FIRE currently has a Thanksgiving 2013 release date. They've got some time... but not a whole lot.