If the second installment in The Hunger Games movie franchise turns out to be a disappointment, writer/director Gary Ross will not be catching fire, so to speak. Ross, who has been praised for his record-smashing adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel, the first of a series of three, will not direct the second, Catching Fire.

Ross said in a statement that scheduling conflicts are to blame and that there is no bad blood between himself and Lionsgate, the studio that is producing The Hunger Games franchise. "Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire," Ross said. "As a writer and a director, I simply don't have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule."

Lionsgate has expressed remorse that Ross will not be returning for the second film. "[Ross] did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work," a rep for Lionsgate told CNN. "This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future."

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