After a lot of back-and-forth as negotiations have been taking place, Gary Ross says he won't direct Catching Fire, the second installment in Lionsgate's Hunger Games franchise.
In a statement Tuesday, Ross said the decision was made "after difficult but sincere consideration," reports AP. He blames limited time to write and prep the film because of the fixed, tight production schedule.
Ross says making The Hunger Games was "the happiest experience" of his professional life. He also denies reports that negotiations with Lionsgate had been problematic.
Lionsgate execs said in a statement they're "very sorry" Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire. The second installment in the franchise based on Suzanne Collins' book series is scheduled for release in November 2013.