Gary Ross, off “Catching Fire.” ( Mario Anzuoni /Reuters)

As of last week, it appeared Gary Ross would not direct “Catching Fire,” the sequel to the phenomenally successful “Hunger Games.” Then subsequent reports suggested that wasn’t a done deal and perhaps Ross, who directed the first film, might find a way to stick with the Katniss Everdeen franchise.

Now, however, the odds look forever in the favor of finding a new filmmaker to helm “Fire.”

Lionsgate and Ross confirmed yesterday, as noted in the L.A. Times, that Ross has opted out of “Catching Fire,” citing scheduling issues.

“Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct ‘Catching Fire,’” Ross said in his statement. “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.” The next film is slated to release in November of 2013.

“Contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic,” Ross added. “They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.”

So now that’s definitively resolved. And now we can go back to speculating about who should direct the dissent-in-the-districts sequel and hoping the answer is Alfonso Cuaron or Debra Granik.