Collider has learned that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence will helm the final two parts of the franchise, Mockingjay Part 1 and 2.
UPDATE: Lionsgate has now confirmed this news:
— Lionsgate News (@LionsgateNews) November 1, 2012
Collider is reporting to have a solid source that says the deal was only just completed. Lawrence and the cast and crew of Catching Fire are currently filming in Atlanta, Georgia, which makes an ideal time to announce the deal for both parties.
Lawrence had signed on to Catching Fire in May after Gary Ross had to back out because of time constraints. At the time, there was talk that Lionsgate was seeking someone else to helm Mockingjay.
When reached by email earlier, Lionsgate had no comment.
Danny Strong will write Mockingjay, we learned a month ago today. So while the screenwriter has changed from Catching Fire, it seems Lionsgate is pleased with what they’ve seen from Lawrence, whose appointment had mixed reaction from fans. The good news here is Lionsgate has seemingly forgone the mess that was the Catching Fire director announcement, choosing to go the safer route, which is definitely welcome after what Hunger Games fans have gone through.
In addition to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lawrence has also directed Water for Elephants and I Am Legend, among others. For Lawrence, this is quite a commitment as Lionsgate will need production on Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2 to begin immediately after Catching Fire ends in order to make the set release dates.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 will be released November 21, 2014. Part 2 will be out November 20, 2015.
Thanks to Collider for the scoop.
Additional reporting by Jeremy Baril.