X-Men sequel moved to accommodate Hunger Games sequel (which now might need a new director)
In the interest of diplomacy and also potentially capitalizing on the increased marketability The Hunger Games has brought to Jennifer Lawrence—but mostly the diplomacy—Fox has agreed to push the start date of its X-Men: First Class sequel to January, freeing Lawrence to shoot The Hunger Games follow-up Catching Fire in the fall. The decision brings to an end several weeks of tense back-and-forth between Lionsgate and Fox, who had contractual dibs on Lawrence, no matter which franchise is currently the bigger fish, nor the size of her respective roles in Hunger Games and X-Men. And by so graciously stepping aside, Fox removes any potential messy conflict that could have led to Lawrence being forced to choose, and also now they can take advantage of her rising star with X-Men: Just 90 Solid Minutes Of Mystique, title pending.
Of course, now there’s potentially an even bigger roadblock to be dealt with before Catching Fire can begin: According to The Playlist, director Gary Ross has “officially exited the franchise,” with the report claiming that—while it certainly “didn’t help” he wasn’t offered a sizeable raise to return—Ross primarily just doesn’t want to repeat himself and, besides, he really only liked the first book. The hunt is reportedly now on for a new director who can set aside such qualms in the interest of making a ton of money.