When all was said and done last year, the big-screen adaptation of The Hunger Games earned $408 million in the United States, and an additional $283 million worldwide. Just two movies made more money domestically in 2012; The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. A large part of the credit for that success belongs to the popularity of the source material by Suzanne Collins, but much of the rest belongs to the director, Gary Ross, and his star, Jennifer Lawrence, who played the heroically famished Katniss Everdeen.
Ross left the Hunger Games franchise after the first film (I Am Legend’s Francis Lawrence will direct the remainder of the trilogy-that-is-now-four-movies-because-money, Catching Fire and Mockingjay), but a collaboration that successful deserves revisiting, and Deadline reports that Ross and Lawrence are already at work at two potential new projects. Universal just acquired the rights to John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden (a book, I’m told, that is almost as good as The Hunger Games) in order to develop the project for the director and star. Meanwhile, the pair and their agents are also shopping a package with a book called Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (I’m unsure where this one falls on the East Of Eden/Hunger Games quality spectrum).
East Of Eden, which is reportedly Ross’ favorite novel, was made into a movie once before, in 1955, by Elia Kazan and James Dean, and Steinbeck adaptations, Deadline says, are “hot stuff” in Hollywood right now after Steven Spielberg acquired the rights for a remake of The Grapes Of Wrath. Burial Rites is about the prosecution of an Icelandic woman in the 1820s “who is victimized and powerless against the forces trying to send her to a public execution.”
Both filmmakers have busy schedules and won’t get to any of these movies for a little while; Ross is working on a movie version of Peter And The Starcatchers while Lawrence wraps up the remaining Hunger Games films.