Gary Ross has taken himself out of the running to direct "Catching Fire", the sequel to "Hunger Games".

Ross issued a statement saying, "As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule."

Ross said there were no hard feelings despite talk that he and Lionsgate, "Hunger Games"'s studio, were battling over salary demands.

"I loved making 'The Hunger Games' -- it was the happiest experience of my professional life," the director said. "Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise: they empowered me to make the film I wanted to make and backed the movie in a way that requires no explanation beyond the remarkable results. And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision."