The odds are ever in Lionsgate's favor that The Hunger Games will likely be a huge success at the box office. Even though The Hunger Games won't hit theaters until March 23, 2012, the studio is ramping up efforts for the sequel, Catching Fire, with Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) being sought to write the screenplay.

The original plan for Catching Fire was to have director Gary Ross team up with author Suzanne Collins to write the sequel, since they wrote a majority of The Hunger Games' script. However, a tight post-production schedule will not allow Gary Ross to work on the Catching Fire script, so Gary Ross and the producers turned their attention to Simon Beaufoy. The writer and studio have not entered into discussions yet, but Lionsgate is reportedly very high on getting Simon Beaufoy.

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Gary Ross will return to direct Catching Fire, although no production schedule has been released yet. We reported in August that Lionsgate set a November 22, 2013 release date for Catching Fire.