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Seriously... What Is Going On With Gary Ross And THE HUNGER GAMES?!

The Kidd here...

I've been hearing rumblings for a few days that things may not be as simple as Gary Ross leaving THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy over something as simple as a lowball offer on directing CATCHING FIRE. I've also been hearing that it's not a given that he's out on the second chapter either. There is definitely some smoke to the fire of Gary Ross' future involvement in the franchise being in serious jeopardy, but it is not the given that's been going around that he's out.

Lionsgate has a lot riding on THE HUNGER GAMES. With THE TWILIGHT SAGA wrapping up in November, there's nothing else in the pipeline for this merger between Lionsgate and Summit that can really generate big box office dollars except for THE HUNGER GAMES. The first film just crossed the $300 million mark domestically over Easter weekend, and now that the studio is aware of the die-hard nature of its fan base, they can expect huge numbers to come rolling in when they count the receipts for CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY. 

Therefore, it doesn't make much sense that they'd try to force Ross' hand over money (pennies in the overall scheme of things now that they've seen how much THE HUNGER GAMES are truly worth) when they've got a release date already announced and a very tight window in which to get the film into production before Jennifer Lawrence is off in January to shoot the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS follow-up. Simon Beaufoy has already been working on the script to CATCHING FIRE for months with Ross overseeing the material. It'd make for a very easy transition into the next film to change as little as possible and not rock the boat. 

However, it may be that shooting schedule that's becoming the problem for Ross. There may have been a lot of work done on that script thus far, but that doesn't mean it's done and ready to go. Also, factor in Jennifer Lawrence's training schedule, casting, location scouting and everything that's going into the pre-production, and you're looking at a period of only about four months to squeeze it all in before the cameras start rolling in August/September. 

That doesn't mean it's impossible, just incredibly difficult, and, to Ross, it might not be worth it. That may be where your money dispute comes in. This is just speculation, but it's entirely possible Ross is asking for a significant raise to handle such a hassle knowing full well that Lionsgate isn't going to meet his price. That gives him an easy way to walk away with the old "It's not me, it's them" excuse. Or, on the other hand, it could be a case of Lionsgate tightening up the purse strings and not making it worth his while to head into such a rushed process, maybe against his better judgment. 

The simple fact is that Lionsgate is better off with Ross in tow rather than heading out with little time to spare to find another director to handle CATCHING FIRE. This could be another Matthew Vaughn situation with X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, where the schedule to make the release date was just too demanding to turn out a quality film, and what we were left with was a disaster of mutant proportions that really shouldn't be blamed on Brett Ratner. That's what happens when the release date comes before everything else. 

I wasn't impressed with THE HUNGER GAMES at all, and that's being a fan of the book. I don't think that's necessarily Ross' fault, although I could have done without the shaky cams, which were used poorly to mask the violence in order to get the film in as a PG-13. I think the script failed him as an adaptation from the book. However, having really loved PLEASANTVILLE and SEABISCUIT, I think Ross has a great HUNGER GAMES in him, if some of the mistakes of the first film can be improved upon. 

It's easy to say that Ross can be replaced by someone else. It's not as if his name is putting asses in the seats for these films. At this point, all you need is something with the titles, and the fans will turn out. On the other hand, Ross can do other things. He's made quality films before, so it's not as if he's going to have a hard time finding work if he moves on from THE HUNGER GAMES. But, as this point, I think both parties need each other a little more than they're letting on. Ross' name has never meant as much as it does now, and Lionsgate has a monumental success on their hands, partially due to Ross. They know he can handle the series, and isn't it better to deal with the devil you know than the one you don't...

There's still a lot to be hammered out between Lionsgate and Ross, but I think word of their split is a bit premature... and, if I had to bet some money on this, I've got the feeling things are going to get patched up rather quickly, and their partnership with continue for CATCHING FIRE.


-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 9, 2012, 1:56 a.m. CST


    by Queefer Sutherland


  • April 9, 2012, 1:57 a.m. CST


    by vini77

    I don't care about this bullshit, GoT had a great episode today!

  • April 9, 2012, 1:58 a.m. CST

    jew yourself out

    by catparade

    ...really now...

  • April 9, 2012, 1:59 a.m. CST

    Interesting stuff..

    by paul burnett

  • April 9, 2012, 2:05 a.m. CST

    @amadeo: Not cool...

    by ChakaMudd

    Definitely not cool...

  • April 9, 2012, 2:06 a.m. CST

    Jonathan Frakes, that's your guy.

    by DrPain

    He'd do it for free and you'll be getting about the same talent level (if not a bit better) than Ross.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:15 a.m. CST

    Tired of shakey cam excuses

    by lordgrimplemort

    I'm sick of hearing the excuse that the shaky cam was used to hide the violence and keep it PG13. First of all, it was used quite a bit in non-action scenes--close ups of mouths with shaky cam. Secondly, we've scene plenty of violence in PG 13 movies before. I think this guy just sucks at action and needs to be replaced.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:15 a.m. CST

    Jew yourself? Seriously?

    by Shub-Wankalot

    Grab a damn thesaurus and dictionary if your feeble brain cells can't come up with a suitable inoffensive word or phrase. Typical fuckin' neanderthal.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:18 a.m. CST


    by gregg benac

    thats racist man. is it that hard to substitute 'cheat' as your verb?

  • April 9, 2012, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Get David Lynch and I'll be there opening night...

    by ThulsaBoom

    ...otherwise, I already have The Running Man, and Battle Royale on DVD.

  • O RLY?

  • April 9, 2012, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Big fan of the books here, but....

    by Clio

    I don't agree with The Kidd that the movie was a poor adaptation of the book. In fact, I think it's one of the better adaptations I've ever seen. Sure, a lot of detail was left out--that's always the case when putting a book on screen, but there was nothing essential left out that would have made a better movie. The only exception would be the closeness of Katniss and Gale preceding the "reaping" for the Hunger Games. Speaking of good adaptations of a book, I just watched To Kill A Mockingbird again last night for the umpteenth time. I like it as much each time I see it....and it's one of my favorite books.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:24 a.m. CST

    And seriously

    by tomdolan04

    Just pay the man whatever he wants. They want to start shooting in under four months? Lionsgate seem to think the fans will put up with any old shitty directorship <p> Goes and rewatches the Twilight Saga <p> My bad, as you were Lionsgate

  • Its been doing absolutely horrendous overseas. To give you a quick comparison, John Carter has made more. Now, a lot of that is due to the fact its a series starter, and non-3D, and as such any future films will have far more visibility when they get released, but it also means that they need to keep costs down. I would say they probably need to go with a $125 mil budget with about $75 mil marketing for CF. That then gives the movie room to make its money without being criticized for being a money pit. IF it gains traction due to visibility in foreign territories, then film the final 2(whether you like it or not they're going to try butchering up the final book in order to get two movies out of it) back-to-back and throw out the big paydays with a large budget to finish it out. But trying to go highball on a 2nd movie would be a huge mistake.

  • ....then I immediately felt guilty, and flogged myself. Passion style.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Now I'm going to Honky myself 'till I fall asleep.

    by ThulsaBoom

  • April 9, 2012, 2:29 a.m. CST

    queefer sutherland has the best name I've ever seen, btw.

    by ThulsaBoom

  • April 9, 2012, 2:33 a.m. CST

    I'll direct it. I'll take $2 million in cash please. Thanks.

    by Chris

  • April 9, 2012, 2:34 a.m. CST

    BTW I haven't seen the movie. Did they finally get to eat?

    by Chris

  • April 9, 2012, 2:41 a.m. CST

    It's NOT doing terrible overseas

    by Winston Smith

    WTF? Just because it's not breaking records doesn't mean it isn't doing well. It's already made 157 mil. And sure, it hasn't made as much as John Carter overseas only, but then The Dark Knight didn't come CLOSE to what 2012 made overseas. It's a massive, massive hit that's already made nearly half a bil. No way to pretend otherwise. It helps that it only cost 78 mil, too, compared to John Carter's 250+ mil. (John Carter has only made 30 mil more overseas, but is negative about 250 mil domestically and costs 180 mil more).

  • April 9, 2012, 2:44 a.m. CST

    the_real_christopher_nolan yes, they had quite the feast!

    by Mel

    what's weird is that they didn't seem to have a competition over it.

  • So, I took in a fresh viewing of XMen 3: The Last Stand this weekend for the first time in a number of years. And let me be abundantly clear from the top, I hate Brett Ratner just as much as the next average fanboy on this site, believe he's a hack that's a genital wart on the cock of Hollywood, etc etc, and I can't imagine EVER being in a scenario where it sounds like I'm trying to defend him. And that's not what I'm trying to do here and now, I'm merely trying to present an objective argument. Obviously Ratner took a shit ton of, well, shit over his entry in the XM series. And here's the thing, while I certainly never loved XM3, I also frankly never had the extreme hatred for it that many others have over the years. Sure it's by far the most inferior in the original trilogy, but that's also speaking to how very good Bryan Singer's first 2 films were.<br> <br> Anyway, the main thing I had coming away from my viewing this weekend was, ultimately, is Ratner REALLY that much to blame? I mean okay obviously the main gripe is the killing off of not just one, but THREE main characters. But Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn co-wrote the script for The Last Stand, they take a great deal of the culpability here, right? I mean it ain't like Ratner made this picture from scratch.<br> <br> Or.... (and this is I guess where I show my true fanboy mettle... or rather, lack thereof), is it the general assumption -- if not outright known fact -- that the characters of Professor X, Cyclops and Jean Gray didn't actually die in Kinberg & Penn's original script, that in actuality none of them died (at most perhaps their fate was left unresolved... ?) but that Ratner made that 'artistic' choice and changed the draft along the way as he saw fit?<br> <br> Although having said all that, either way, whether it was the writers' or Ratner's idea to kill them off to begin with, the little coda scene during the credits, suggesting that Professor X was still alive (hearing him off camera approach his doctor friend with a hello) was just beyond ludicrous. HIS ENTIRE FUCKING BODY EXPLODED INTO A MILLION PIECES. lol oh well and also, shit how could I forget, the tiny scene even after that one suggesting that Magneto was already getting his telekenesis back. I mean that's another thing, this implication that apparently the "cure" is only just temporary, was that the writers' original idea, or did Ratner invent that.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Hire THG's Second Unit Director!

    by Ward Porrill

    ...Steven Soderbergh. Truth!

  • Joss Whedon's first six issues of Astonishing Xmen run...Either way, according to an old interview with the producers, X3 and Wolverine: Origins will not be considered canon fodder for any subsequent Xmen sequels. They've acknowledged their fuck-up, hence the re-boot ala Xmen: First Class.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:19 a.m. CST

    I don't hate X3

    by 3D-Man

    I'd choose it over X1, which has some serious pacing problems. X3 wasn't great, but I liked the way they scaled down the Phoenix story. To make her a planet-devouring super-mutant wouldn't have fit the tone that the first two films established.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Sorry this movie sucked. Who cares who the director is..


    Horribly filmed action. Weak ass plot. Weak ass main character. Dutch from Predator laughs at her. Hire the director of Mac and Me for the shit sequels.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:47 a.m. CST

    In the great annals of film writing...

    by Anklavepak

    ... this is a very important article that will be remembered for decades. Why oh why, did I read this now, having no interest whatsoever in the Hunger Games? Why did I not wait till I was retired with nothing better to do? Why did I not wait till I was dead and let my stray atoms read it if any of them be interested? Why did I waste time writing this?

  • April 9, 2012, 3:47 a.m. CST

    They're still offering him a pittance I bet when it's made 300mil

    by performingmonkey

    Though he should not have walked into this unless the contract said any sequels following a big-selling first movie would guarantee an x amount salary raise. Cause studios can, and will fuck over the 'talent'.

  • ...and Will Smith rocks! I saw I Am Legend, on mushrooms, with my best friend at the IMAX. Fucking life changing. Plus, I loved the CGI because it was the only thing that pulled me out of the saddest, lonliest, movie I ever watched (thanks mushrooms)!

  • April 9, 2012, 3:52 a.m. CST

    3d -man you hurt me...

    by ThulsaBoom

    ...X1 isn't perfect, it's extremely flawed...but X3 makes it look like X2.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Common practice in Hollywood these days...

    by godoffireinhell

    "Leaking" info like "Ross leaves Hunger Games franchise over money!!!" to the press is common practice while negotiating actor/director salaries. If there's a big negative reaction to somebody leaving a franchise, he or she will have more leverage in the next round of negotiations. If the internet shrugs it off, the studio has more leverage. It's quite boring, really. In summary, it's indeed just about the paycheck and in engaging in this discussion we're all doing exactly what is expected of us.

  • April 9, 2012, 5:02 a.m. CST

    Again... I smell a Ratner!

    by mdk

  • April 9, 2012, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Every time I see an post "written" by The Kidd....I wonder

    by Bandit 37

    Who the fuck is Billy Donnelly? And how did AICN find someone worse than Nording?

  • April 9, 2012, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Some crappy 3rd rate website posted this "exclusive" days ago...

    by Executor

    ...and other people just picked it up and ran with it. What were the sources this website (whose name I forgot because I never heard of it before) had? None cited. None needed. It's the internet. Make up something or run with an unverified rumor as fact just to get the hits and claim credit if it happens to be true down the line with a snarky TOLDYASO. And if tons of your stories end up to be wrong...who cares, no one remembers anyway.

  • April 9, 2012, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Im glad

    by saintsaucey

    Im not the only one who caught the mistake. Vaughn wasn't supposed to direct X3 Singer was. Ratner stepped in to take his place. And to the guy who said Xavier's body exploded so why was he talking to Moira at the end. He put his mind into the body of her comotose paitient and thays how he survived.

  • April 9, 2012, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Kidd that was a very long post for a rumor.

    by adeceasedfan

    Got the same info on Deadline last night in just paragraphs.

  • April 9, 2012, 6:27 a.m. CST

    *a few paragraphs

    by adeceasedfan

  • April 9, 2012, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Who cares.

    by Super Rabbi

  • April 9, 2012, 6:57 a.m. CST

    Paul Verhoven for me

    by the_shitweasel_with_a_quizzical_brow

  • April 9, 2012, 6:58 a.m. CST

    The true is that this crap "FLOPPED OVERSEAS"!

    by marcus

  • April 9, 2012, 7:15 a.m. CST

    You could've done withOUT shaky cam...

    by Wes_Reviews_

    ...jeez, hire an editor, AICN. For Pete's sake. Show a little professionalism. The old "we're just being real" excuse gets old.

  • It'll find a nice spot in his DVD collection right next to John Carter.

  • April 9, 2012, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Methinks Kidd's Days Are Numbered

    by KingDingaLing

    As bad as he was, bring back Moriarty, unless he's dead or something. I remember YEARS ago when he called the Howard Stern show when Anthony Hopkins was a guest and both he and Howard thought Moriarty was a dick. lol

  • April 9, 2012, 7:23 a.m. CST

    The Kidd's diarrhea of the mouth gives me IBS.

    by adeceasedfan

    Truth is we're both full of shit. :p

  • yet people keep giving Gary Ross a free pass, regarding the lack of depth and intensity in THG, by saying "Well....maybe the studio wouldn't let him make it the way he wanted it." The lack of on-screen violence has nothing to do with the fact that there was zero character development, and there was not a single moment where it felt like Katniss was in any danger. Even in James Bond films, where you know he's always going to survive the film, there are moments of high tension. I just have trouble finding a single compliment for this film.

  • April 9, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST

    I'll still blame Brett Ratner for X-Men: The Last Stand

    by D.Vader

    Sorry, but if he wants to take all the credit for that movie's success, then he can take all the credit for that movie's failures.

  • April 9, 2012, 7:58 a.m. CST


    by The Infamous Billy The Kidd

    Singer was originally supposed to do X3, but chose to do SUPERMAN RETURNS instead. In his place, Matthew Vaughn stepped in before eventually bowing out for "family reasons." However, it is well understood that he wasn't going to be able to make the movie he originally wanted due to the rushed schedule Fox had in mind to hit their release date. That's when Ratner took the gig, already pretty far along in the creative process, which is why I don't hold him responsible for the clusterfuck X3 turned out to be. All those deaths were already in the script due to talent wanting out of the franchise, and the studio was really adamant about getting a large amount of mutants in.

  • April 9, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Too Cool For HG


    Yeah, yeah, we know, we know... HG blah blah blah shakey cam blah blah blah Battle Royal blah blah blah PG13 blah blah overseas box office blah blah I am so cool and jaded blah blah blah. No offense guys, if HG isnt your thing, more power to ya. Thats why we have chocolate and vanilla, right? Obviously, lots of folks differ. Count me among them. Nice job of adapting a book with lots and lots of 'background detail' and dark themes, keeping it accessible to its fan base (if you believe that is 'selling out', to each his own), while refusing to make the action seem 'cool'only (no offense, but I think HG is one of the rare action movies where the principal characters DO seem in genuine danger). And no, this isn't aimed at Kidd. I leave that to you members of the spelling/typo police.

  • Fucking awful. I went into that movie with a headache and walked out with a fucking migraine!

  • April 9, 2012, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Fuck Game of Thrones

    by Dharma4


  • April 9, 2012, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Should get someone new

    by Rex Carsalot

    THG wasn't bad, but it felt really small and confined, and needs someone to make it big in the next installment.

  • Rattner is not to blame. Besides, he was able to shoot a pretty decent movie keeping in mind all the circunstances. X3 is a fun watch, and better than expected. All this Rattner hate is soooo 20 minutes ago. Give it a rest.

  • April 9, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong

    ...about "shaky cam". Fucking dry up, already, you morons.

  • April 9, 2012, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Finally saw the film. My review...

    by RogueWarrior65

    Jennifer is my newest crush. You're welcome. Call me. In an interview she said she wants to buy a house, a dog, and a shotgun. Seriously, call me. Shaky cam? Really? If that's all Gary Ross has in his bag of tricks, good riddance. The fight sequences were not nearly as cool as they could have been. Some reviewers whined about the film being too long. IMHO, it was too short. Too many intriguing elements that were only lightly touched on. And what's up with the entire male tribute cast with nothing but pretty boys? Feh. And on another note (not that I'd want to see this) but after how many days in the woods and none of them had to take a sh*t or a leak? All in all though, I'd buy this DVD which is saying something given that years ago I generally stopped buying DVDs for all but the most entertaining films.

  • April 9, 2012, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Could this have something to do with 3D?

    by Jeff

    Didn't Ross emphatically state that he would never do any of the Hunger Games movies in 3D? Maybe the studio has other ideas.

  • April 9, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Alfonso Cuaron or Neil Blomkamp would be my choices

    by seasider

    as replacements. Both filmmakers have proven they can shoot a movie in documentary style without cheapening the movie.

  • April 9, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Brett Ratner

    by jemagee

    is a giant douche with no comprehension of making a good film...Roger Corman would have made a bet x3 than that feckless putz made

  • I think you mean "there is fire to the smoke." Y'know, as in "there is legitimacy to the rumor."

  • April 9, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Billy The Kidd = Devin Faraci/Armond White of AICN FACT

    by TheMovieLover

    Seriously, even in his casual articles, he can't help but bag on the movie or any other movie.

  • April 9, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST

    You Americans DO know a thing called Battle Royale, right?

    by Ricardo

    Ohhh you don't...? Because there are no white people in it, right? Okay...

  • April 9, 2012, 10:53 a.m. CST


    by emteem

    While all the rumors at the time had Vaughn dropping out due to the insane 11 month production schedule didn't he actually make First Class on an even more insane 10 month production schedule?

  • April 9, 2012, 11:27 a.m. CST

    ricarleite4 - fuck you, you generalizing, arrogant retard

    by F This

    ricarleite4: *Ooh, let's play the stupid, racist American card! That'll make me sound more intelligent and badass than all these stupid Americans on AICN talkbacks.* Not cool, you stupid, worthless fucking cockhole.

  • April 9, 2012, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Jonathan Frakes = Excellant choice!

    by Jake Pantlin

    I agree with Dr. Pain. Jonathan Frakes would be a greta choise for a director for this sequel. He works well with ensembles, it it isn't a fluke that Star Trek First Contact was the best TNG film.

  • Can't have the world's greatest economy being THAT stupid, can we? Fuck off, peasant.

  • April 9, 2012, 11:48 a.m. CST

    @Amadeo re: Soderbergh

    by Ward Porrill

    Good point. Soderbergh would probably rather make 15 GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCEs for the price of one HG sequel anyway.

  • April 9, 2012, 11:49 a.m. CST

    re: theseeker7 - The death of Professor X in X-Men 3

    by Jake Pantlin

    At the end of X-Men 3, it isn't Professor X lying in the bed. It is the body of a comatose man, who Professor X's spirit inhabits. The scene was actually forshadowed at the start of the film, where the Professor talks about transferring one's conciousness to another body (to his students.) I didn't really like that idea either, but that is what it was suppose to be happening at the end of the film (a younger man trapped in a vegetative state, with Pro X's soul now living in him). If they ever make an X4, they really need to bring all of these characters back (who 'died') in a proper way. I don't want to see them simply ignore the events of X3 (like Singer did with Superman 3 and 4) because that is just really disrespectful to the previous filmmakers. Cyclops and Professor X could simply be in a state of limbo, and be brought back to the real world by a powerful mutant.

  • Sad that it didn't do better in theaters compared to the massive success of The Hunger Games. I have the same attitude with Captain America and Thor last year. I enjoyed Captain America but Thor was my favorite of those two.

  • April 9, 2012, 11:57 a.m. CST

    I humbly disagree

    by Joe

    I think Ross wasn't really the success of "Hunger Games" i think the title alone was success enough. I remember people frothing at the mouth when they heard this movie was coming out. I never heard a comment like "OOO ROSS IS DIRECTING!?!!?" So yes he can be easily replaced. I personally couldn't care for the first film, it was good, but had the potential to be GREAT! Thanks, -Rex

  • is lame ass sci-fi

  • April 9, 2012, 12:36 p.m. CST

    bubcus, careful mentioning John Carter on a Hunger Games TB

    by Mattman

    You might anger the Asimov.

  • He apparently managed a contract that paid him a "pittance" (for a big director) up front, but he gets 5% of box office gross. So he's got like $26 million from the movie so far.

  • April 9, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    (but I agree, JC is the best movie I've seen so far this year)

    by Mattman


  • I can't imagine a line less likely to cause me concern, except maybe, "Prince William discovered he had an ingrown toenail this morning!"

  • April 9, 2012, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Overseas Market

    by Andrew

    Not to sound like a dick here, but The Hunger Games has already made 300 million while John Carter is still at 67 million (according to Box Office Mojo). I think it's easy to see which one is a hit and which one is a flop. I don't think saying "JC is doing better in the foreign markets" really means anything. Also, wasn't JC called the biggest box office flop ever? Come on, now.

  • April 9, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Seriously.....Who gives a fuck?

    by Jaster Mareel

    I didn't see The Hunger Games, but it looks like Twilighty generic trash.

  • April 9, 2012, 1:29 p.m. CST

    I'm not saying The Hunger Games is better...

    by Andrew

    It just made more money. Gary Ross is retarded if he doesn't jump on board for the sequel. I'd do that shit in half a second if I could get a percentage of the ticket sales.

  • Personally, I do hate these studios that feel they need to strike while the iron's hot, and then try to push alot of this stuff out the door before anything is finalized.

  • April 9, 2012, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Funny thing is about Shaky-Cam

    by Joe Plumber

    ss that narrative film directors use handheld camera's and shake the camera to make the movie look like Reality TV, but people who shoot Reality TV are actually trying to keep the cameras as still as they can, but they are following the largely unscripted actions of unprofessional actors around in real time and the result is unpolished wobbly footage. So, this whole fad is based on filmmakers aping the unintentional negative side effects of a inferior medium for "artistic" stylistic purposes.

  • April 9, 2012, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Imagine explaining 'shaky cam' to Hitchcock...

    by Darth Macchio

    I was watching some of "United 93" and yet again I never EVER think "wow, is this really happening? was it recorded? a documentary?" but instead tiredly think (again) "this is distracting. this is distracting. this is distracting. this is fucking distracting. oh look, somebody's shoulder. ohh, the back of someone's head. two people are having a conversation and the camera is filming some other guy's coat pocket. this is distracting. this is distracting." the entire time, over and over, like a horrible pop song stuck in your head. In the Bourne movies, it's just beyond dumb and ruins not only the story but even what looks to be some fantastic fight choreography (the 2nd film apartment fight scene in particular) second I'm looking at Damon's chin and the next I'm looking at someone's back or shoulder or maybe a "Wayne's World" style extreme closeup of some girl's eyebrow and the corner of an eye. not sure who. Instead, this "technique" does the unforgivable in film: it destroys the suspension of disbelief. I always wondered what would happen if you could take some of the greatest directors and DoPs of the greatest classic movies/films (any of them) and had them sit down and watch movies from today with all of their bullshit techniques to replace what used to be done by story and editing...what they would say about these "new" film techniques. Sad to see HG using this same tired and stupid technique.

  • As others have mentioned, anyone, even a freshman film student, could direct these movies and it will still make huge B.O. In other words, Gary Ross is an idiot. He's gonna lose a job.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST

    darth_meh... um, have you SEEN a Twilight movie?

    by Mattman

    Steven Spielberg couldn't make that plot and those characters interesting. Hunger Games is much easier to work with, I'd say.

  • Jennifer Lawrence is also perfectly cast, as is the rest of the ensemble. That being said, Ross is being foolish if he's trying to play chicken. Sure, he apparently shot the film very well, but these giant franchise moneymakers chew through wonderful directors like warm bread. The profit is a done deal, all the studio cares about is making a date - Matthew Vaughn was the first director to make a really good X-Men movie, but even he had to eventually bow to time pressure and minimal studio support for a franchise they'd damaged (if they'd given him more, I seriously doubt he would have crippled Xavier and split him and Magneto in the first new X-film - but he had a vote of no confidence at the time). Catherine Hardwicke also did an actually lovely job with the first Twilight, even though the script, story and characters are utterly awful. She shot it like an intoxicating teenage dream, which is all the material is at best - but Summit dumped her even after she made their first big bombshell. And Marvel dumped Kenneth fucking Branagh from Thor 2, and then Patty Jenkins, an equally renowned filmmaker. It's about the date. And Gary Ross is no Branagh or Jenkins, or Vaughn. He needs to either stay on the train or they'll find any of several dozen A or B-list, talented directors.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Hey! Just get Terrence Howard to direct it!

    by Snake Foreskin

    Does Gary Ross have the same agent as Terrence Howard?

  • Kidd, not cool!

  • April 9, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST

    mattman, not comparing the quality of the source material

    by Joe Plumber

    Just saying that like Twilight, the quality or lack there of, of the next Hunger Games movie is not going to keep fans away.

  • It will work wonders on that poor quality shaky camera footage you're getting.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST

    asimovlives, 3 words:

    by Joe Plumber

    I'm Juggernaut, bitch!

  • April 9, 2012, 4:33 p.m. CST


    by xsikal

    If you liked the book, I think you'll be disappointed in the movie. You'll also regret having written phrases like "he apparently shot the film very well", when you find yourself nauseated by shaky cam being used (bizarrely) for long lingering looks around the coal mining town, in addition to the terrible terrible action scenes.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST

    Obviously a loquacious spider monkey could direct these films

    by Mugato5150

    Get over youself, you dumb fuck.

  • April 9, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    You know, every time I watch X2....

    by Nik

    ...I just can't get through the whole thing. Honestly, I find it boring and kind of slow in some spots. I feel that way about most of Bryan Singer's movies. They all seem about a half hour longer than they should be. Sorry, gotta put it out there.

  • ...just too damn long! (that's what she said)

  • April 9, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    For you crits who have problems with adaptations...

    by Rigo Martinez II

    STOP GOING TO THE MOVIES YOU WHINERS!!! lol Seriously even you kidd, books will always be better than their film adaptations for the most obvious reason you people are too stupid to realize. In your imagination the acting is perfect, the fx look amazing, and you're seeing it thru your interpretations that you prefer. Really I get soo tired of hearing this lame excuse, if you read books before watching the flix you will usually always get disappointed. I watch the movie as a totally separate entity and never read the book till after, I read Jurassic Park: Lost World way before there were even talks about making it into a movie, I loved the book and was disappointed a director like Spielberg changed the story pretty much entirely. Get of your jackass kiddo, I never read any of the books and thought Hunger Games was a fresh time at the cinema and obviously so did a lot of other people that go to the movies.

  • April 9, 2012, 6 p.m. CST

    I hope Ross does it. If not...

    by Krinkle

    ... Soderbergh would be terrific, and not only because he and Ross have a long association (Soderbergh produced Pleasantville and does commentary on Seabiscuit)

  • April 9, 2012, 6:18 p.m. CST

    Shaky cam was used to mask violence?

    by Shoehanger

    It was shaky for the first hour of the film, before any violence. Did you watch the film?

  • April 9, 2012, 6:21 p.m. CST

    lol it's not doing that great?


    It had one of the most amazing opening weekends ever in the USA. Some American films just aren't as popular internationally. People overseas are weirdos. John Carter is a huge hit in Russia. Russians are fucking freaks. Plus they're smart, they know this Hunger Games is just a massive fad, it's teenage Americans going ape-shit over a movie that isn't anything special.

  • April 9, 2012, 6:28 p.m. CST



    I watched it again on TV and it's not that bad when you know what to expect. It's kinda cheesy but not really all that horrible imo. I never read the comics though and can simpathise if they totally raped the story.

  • And unfortunately, it started off on the wrong foot by forcing shaky-cam nonsense on complete non-action scenes. When an essentially still shot is filmed shakily, it's just annoying. Bad, amateurish. Which is a shame, because when it was used a few other times, to sort of camouflage the visuals of children killing other children, it was useful. The movement was unsettling, off-putting, and underscored the "this is inherently wrong" feeling of what was happening in that moment. They could have easily been more direct and brutal with the killing scenes, but I don't want to see that. I don't think any self-respecting person does. It reminded me just a bit of the (far better) 'The Road' in that once sense - creating some additional horror through suggestion rather than showing it all. Though I still say the whole story is far less good than the popularity indicates. Take away the shock value of kids killing kids, and you've got a heaping pile of well-worn cliches and societal commentary done enormously better elsewhere. This whole thing is pretty much an author cashing in on other people's ideas with an exploitative gimmick. And it seems more like a ripoff than, say, Harry Potter's love letter to its influences.

  • April 9, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    The best part about this adaptation...

    by Namssorg

    ...Was that while the books were written in first person narrative (you're locked in Katniss's head- and only have her point of view, thoughts, and experiences to go on) the movie opens the story up quite a bit. You see what other people are doing. You see behind the scenes. You see the announcers and what viewers at home are watching. Really a nice addition to the book- they kind of go hand in hand quite well. Then again, I just like watching movies. A little bit of shaky cam (GO WATCH BATMAN BEGINS.. It's like they filmed that on a unicycle on a dirty road) didn't 'ruin' the whole movie for me.

  • April 9, 2012, 9:57 p.m. CST

    WTF Professor?

    by rbottoms

    Let me get this straight????? Ratner plays fair with the audience by setting up quite early in the movie that there's a physically healthy, but mentally empty body under the care of Professor X's closest female friend just laying there. Then knowing he's about to do battle with a God, the idea the most powerful telepath on the planet is went in to tat house unpreparred to move his conciseness to that body if need be. God forbid Xavier kept, what was in all likelihood his mentally empty twin brother around as an emergency escape hatch and that was the conundrum he posed to his students. Guess you've never seen Scanners. And I liked X3 just fine thank you. However much his other movies may suck, Last Stand is pretty great popcorn movie.

  • April 9, 2012, 9:59 p.m. CST

    It's Four Words

    by rbottoms

    I'm the Juggernaut, Bitch!

  • April 9, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST


    by The Infamous Billy The Kidd

    Most of X3 was already set before Ratner even took the gig, so yeah, I give him a pass on that one, unless you want to complain about how the film looked visually.

  • April 10, 2012, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Since when has box office numbers correlate to the quality of movies?

    by DanielnocharismaCraig

    And comparing Twilight to Hunger Games? You've got to be joking. It may be due to my preference for dystopian science fiction, but Twilight isn't even in the same ballpark as Hunger Games. And yes, I am including both literary and film adaptation on this one! Of course, that still does not exclude Suzanne Collins for the almost blatant rip off of plot ideas of the same type of genre. But as I've stated in past talkbacks, as long as this novel gets the young kids out there to think and better yet act on the economic and political landscape of today's America, then I can never really dislike Collins work. There I've said my piece.

  • April 10, 2012, 4:49 a.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Bravo, sir. Indeed.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    The director of these films is totally irrelevant

    by MacReady452

    The popularity and draw of this story has NOTHING to do with who is at the helm. THAT SAID...SPOILERS Place the blame where you will but there were major thematic missteps throughout the film. Gales involvement in the love triangle is sidelined. The theme of celebrity and it's influence on the masses is mishandled . Katniss and Peeta become reality TV stars gaining huge popularity and support within the Capitol in the books. In the movie we are made to believe it is Haymitch working behind the scenes. That nullifies the overall gravitas of the rebellion and their role in it. People are starving to death. It is called THE HUNGER GAMES but the suppression and starvation of the masses is a non issue in the film. These are three huge points that, anyone involved, should be ashamed of fucking up. Shit just could have been done better. The film walks a fine line of talking down to its audience and their is no need for that. Bye Bye Gary. Don't need ya.

  • If you take all the action scenes from the movies of the last decade that have used it, Bourne, bits of Quantum of Solace, Friday Night Lights, others... and edit a montage of said movies together; it would be an incomprehensible mess of BS. Then again, those that love it do not know what the words "montage" or "incomprehensible" mean anyway so...