Francis Lawrence, best known for directing 2007’s “I Am Legend” with Will Smith and a slew of music videos, including Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video, has been picked to helm “Catching Fire,” the next film in “The Hunger Games” series.
Lawrence is replacing Gary Ross, who directed the blockbuster film, which has been racking up huge box office since its release.
“The Hunger Games” has earned $535 million worldwide as of today (Apr. 19) and has been No. 1 in total gross for the past three weeks in a row, the first picture to do so since “Avatar.”
The film has also been a critical success. It holds an 84 percent “Certified Fresh” rating on Web site rottentomatoes, which tracks film reviews.
Ross, 55, is best known for directing “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit,” both starring Tobey Maguire, his only other directing gigs, before “The Hunger Games.” He has worked as a writer, producer or both on other films, including Tom Hanks’ 1988 film “Big.”
Most recently, Lawrence, 42, directed Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in 2011’s “Water for Elephants.” Major critics dissed the film, but it scored an overall 61 percent on rottentomatoes. The film earned $117 million worldwide.
Lawrence apparently made the short list with “Moneyball” Director Bennett Miller, according to deadline. He apparently got the job by default after early favorite Juan Antonio Bayona couldn’t do it and Miller had conflicts with Lionsgate’s production schedule.