Ah, ye olde "scheduling conflicts," a catch-all excuse usually utilized to cover up more nefarious frictions between creative types, but in the case of "The Hunger Games," it seems to be the real deal.
Variety reports that the previously announced Danny Elfman has had to bow out of scoring duties on "The Hunger Games." He was set to team up with T. Bone Burnett but it looks like his busy calendar will keep him out of the flick, and not without good reason. Elfman is already slated to be tuning up two other big spring movies — frequent collaborator Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" and "Men In Black 3" — so it's understandable that the time crunch may be a bit much. But the film has got a pretty damn good replacement in James Newton Howard.
The eight-time Academy Award nominee (!) is probably best known in recent memory for his work with Hans Zimmer on "The Dark Knight," but he's been knocking out great scores on his own for years and is a heavyweight pinch hitter. But the big question is what the abrupt shift will mean for the tone of the film. Elfman and Howard are wildly different composers in sensibility and feel, though Burnett may act as the counterweight to bring the composer in line with what director Gary Ross is looking for to help shape his movie.
Time is of the essence, too. "The Hunger Games" opens in four short months on March 23, 2012.