Francis Lawrence to direct "The Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire"

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 08: Executive producer/director Francis Lawrence speaks onstage during the 'Touch' panel during the FOX Broadcasting Company portion of the 2012 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 8, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) Frederick M. Brown

Francis Lawrence speaks onstage during the Winter TCA Tour on Jan. 8, 2012, in Pasadena, Calif.
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(CBS News) Lionsgate has reportedly found a new director to helm the second installment in "The Hunger Games" franchise.

According to Deadline, the movie studio has tapped Francis Lawrence to direct "Catching Fire," based on the second book in Suzanne Collins' wildly popular series.

Pictures: "The Hunger Games" cast in NYC
Pictures: The film's world premiere

Lawrence replaces Gary Ross, who directed the first film but decided not to return for "Catching Fire," citing the tight production schedule.

Deadline reports that Lionsgate was also considering "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller, but Lawrence became the frontrunner because his schedule fit the studio's timetable for a fall 2013 release.

Lawrence's directing credits include "Water for Elephants," "I am Legend" and music videos for Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Green Day.

"Catching Fire" is scheduled to open in theaters on Nov. 22, 2013.

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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