While Gary Ross has publicly revealed that he was working on Catching Fire, it appears that not all is as it seems. After a gigantic opening weekend, followed by a triumphant second week, The Hunger Games is a worldwide phenomenon that people have swooned over, and many are already looking forward to the sequel. Whiel we’ve seen that a certain other sequel could delay production, it turns out that Lionsgate also has a hard task of negotiating with Ross, including the fact that there’s some trouble in the process already.
Okay all this reporting coming out today about Ross halting negotiations for Catching Fire because he’s asking for more money are ABSURDLY SKEWED. Fans need to calm down and gain some perspective on this for a second and stop ranting at the guy that just gave them a hugely successful and near flawless movie. Who do you THINK pockets all that money made in the box office?
Guys, Ross had a contractual salary of $3 million for the first movie to write and direct. It’s already made $366 million in its first two weekends (Lionsgate only shelled out $80 million for it), and came in #3 for all time biggest opening weekend ever. OF COURSE, he’s going to negotiate for more the second time around after this one has been such a huge success. He did a magnificent and BRILLIANT job. He devoted at least like two years to the thing. By all accounts, including the final product he has to show for it, he worked like a WORKHORSE over it to get it just right. He DESERVES to take home more of the earnings. It’s Lionsgate who’s suddenly being the stingy bitch if they don’t feel like paying a top director’s salary to the guy that literally saw them to the top of the box office records.
Stop being mad at Ross, he made the most GORGEOUS film he could have, and you know what, he didn’t have to. This is not about him being greedy. This is about him being an artist working in a medium that costs a lot of time and money and every once in a blue moon can pay a lot if successful. Why should he not ask for more after delivering for them so well? Why should Lionsgate not have the loyalty to say, “hey you gave us this fantastic movie that critics and fans alike loved, that also ran as a hugely successful blockbuster (a combination that is absolutely unheard of!) and put us on the map to compete with big movie houses for the first time ever, of course we’ll give you what you deserve for the second film!”?
Screaming that an artist is greedy for standing up for their creative work and worth is incredibly silly, especially a guy like Ross, who’s done like two films in the past fifteen years. He’s not exactly churning them out. He obviously picks the scripts he picks that he cares about. But that doesn’t mean he should roll over like a dog and take whatever Lionsgate is offering him after his latest movie just hit record box office openings.
Someone is pocketing all of this revenue money. As a fan, I’d rather it go to the creative minds that gave me a 144 minute movie of gold and made it a success. There are countless numbers of far lesser movies being churned out every year by lazy directors making far more. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at them. That’s worthless money being wasted.
Most likely, this is all press being stupid. But it’s not unheard of, if Lionsgate wants to pocket just as much money next time around and wants to hire a smaller director they can pay them less and doesn’t give a shit about the job they do on it. (I wonder where Nina Jacobson is on this, did her company buy rights to all the books at once or just the first one? I do hope she doesn’t let herself get priced out.)
But this is what happens with first installments that do well. They don’t gamble with something they don’t know how it will do in the box office. Jennifer Lawrence, for example, reportedly was paid $500,000 for the role. Expect her to re-negotiate for the next movie as well. Would you really snub her for trying to do so? Bet you she’ll be asking for more than $3 million and as much as I love Jlaw, her salary shouldn’t be more than the director. (I’m hoping for the actors sakes they all have good contracts and can re-negotiate easily. Just because you’re in the big leagues now, Lionsgate, shouldn’t mean you start stooping to their tactics. Though, I fear that may be exactly what we’re in for.)