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The Morning Fix: Ross out of 'Hunger Games' sequel. Spears to 'X Factor'?

After the coffee. Before firing whoever ordered this rain.

The Skinny: Malaysia Airlines has stolen my idea to offer kids free flights! Of course, my marketing pitch would be to offer some family friendly flights that encourage children and then make other flights kid-free. Wednesday's headlines include a Disney deal to help China build its animation business, DreamWorks getting some more financing and Gary Ross, director of "The Hunger Games," saying he's out for the sequel. 

Gary Ross won't direct Hunger Games follow-up
Daily Dose: On paper it sounds like a big deal that Fox Sports filed an objection Tuesday in bankruptcy court to the sale of the Dodgers from Frank McCourt to a group fronted by Magic Johnson. But in reality, Fox is just doing its due diligence and needed to put on record that it wants written assurances that Time Warner Cable, which is starting a Los Angeles sports channel that will compete with Fox's two channels here, has no involvement with the new ownership.

Made in China. The Walt Disney Co., which certainly knows a few things about cartoons, is offering its expertise to China. Disney said it will partner with China's Ministry of Culture and China's largest Internet company, Tencent Holdings Ltd., to develop content. Disney views China as a big priority and is already building a theme park there. More on its animation plans from the Los Angeles Times.

Ross won't be boss. Gary Ross, director of the massive hit "The Hunger Games," has bowed out of working on the sequel "Catching Fire." Ross said in a statement that the tight production schedule Lionsgate has set for "Catching Fire" is a deal-breaker. "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. One of the reasons that production is being rushed is that "Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence is also committed to filming a sequel to Fox's "X-Men: First Class." More from the Hollywood Reporter.

Show me the money. DreamWorks Studios, Steven Spielberg's production company, has renewed its financing deal with primary backer Reliance Entertainment, an Indian media conglomerate. According to the New York Times, as part of the new arrangement, DreamWorks will make fewer movies. Since it only has two films in the works for 2013 so far, I'm not sure what fewer will mean.

I'm a slave 4 you. Britney Spears is inching closer to going to work for Simon Cowell on his singing competition show "The X Factor." Deadline Hollywood said the Spears camp is negotiating a potential payday of nearly $15 million a season. Fox's "The X Factor" had decent but not the great ratings the network was hoping for in its freshman season.

Not playing around. Microsoft's Xbox wants to be more than a device for games. The Wall Street Journal reviews how it stands up to Roku and Apple TV as a television distribution platform. Alas, I think I'm rapidly reaching the age where trying something new is about as appealing as a trip to the dentist.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on ABC's new comedy "...The B---- in Apartment 23." Culver City gets the spotlight in the new romantic comedy "Think Like A Man." When it comes to HBO's redneck comedy "Eastbound and Down" you either get the joke or you are the joke.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. We've come too far to turn back now. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: Director Gary Ross won't direct the sequel for "The Hunger Games." Credit: Britta Pedersen/EPA.

 
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