CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.
Film News: Francis Lawrence to Direct ‘The Hunger Games’ Sequel ‘Catching Fire’
CHICAGO – “The Hunger Games” fans’ ravenous appetite for more will soon be satisfied as Lionsgate is moving forward with the sequel “Catching Fire.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has chosen Francis Lawrence to direct the anticipated sequel after Gary Ross chose not to return to the franchise. Lawrence’s most recent work includes “I Am Legend” and “Water for Elephants.” Stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are expected to return.
The offer has yet to be made official from Lionsgate but is being reported by multiple outlets.
Gary Ross, who directed the first installment of “The Hunger Games,” bowed out from directing the sequel due to the tight time constraints on the production schedule. Ross didn’t feel like he could do his best work saying in a written statement, “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.”
The Chicago Tribune compares this scenario to the “Twilight” series – coincidentally produced by the Lionsgate subsidiary Summit – saying, “Bringing in a new director to a popular franchise is a tricky proposition.”
Lawrence has yet to make a public comment.
“The Hunger Games” has grossed over $300 million in the U.S. alone and over half a billion dollars worldwide. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci. “Catching Fire” is scheduled to come out in November 2013.
By BRIGID BROWN