Francis Lawrence to Direct 'Catching Fire'

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ET has learned that director Francis Lawrence has officially been named as Gary Ross' successor for The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire.

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Lawrence has directed such films as I Am Legend and Water for Elephants along with a long list of music videos for notable stars including Britney Spears and Aerosmith.

In April, Hunger Games director Gary Ross turned down the opportunity to continue directing the series. In a written statement, Ross cited the tight production schedule as a major reason for bowing out of the series, as the studio reportedly wants to start production in August.

Catching Fire is scheduled to release in November 2013.