Gary Ross’ upcoming adaptation of the first in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy is set to be one of the biggest films of next year, and we’ve been treated to some pretty great insights into the film in the past few weeks (all of which you can catch up on here), including the long-awaited first theatrical trailer, which I thought was pretty damn awesome.

Variety are now reporting that Danny Elfman, who was originally to compose the score for the film, has had to exit the project due to scheduling conflicts, and James Newton Howard will be stepping in in his place.

It had been previously announced that Elfman would be collaborating with T-Bone Burnett for the film, and Burnett will be continuing his involvement with the project, for which he’ll also be serving as executive music producer, now alongside Howard.

“Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson?’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Suzanne Collins?’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy published by Scholastic that has over 16 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following.”

Both Howard and Elfman are incredibly well respected composers, both receiving several nominations at the Academy Awards, and if Elfman’s schedule’s conflicting, then it only seems right that someone of a similarly brilliant calibre will take up the role in his stead. I’m a huge fan of Howard’s, whose credits include films as huge and varied as The Dark Knight, Space Jam, French Kiss, I Am Legend, Love And Other Drugs, and many more, including composing the somewhat iconic theme to TV’s E.R., and I’m already excited to hear his ideas for The Hunger Games’ score.

Elfman has Men in Black III and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows on his plate at the moment, both of which are set to be released in the spring next year, and juggling a third film due around the same time naturally sounds like a pretty difficult task. Howard also has two big films to score now too, in the form of Snow White and the Huntsman and The Bourne Legacy, but with both of those due, fitting The Hunger Games’ spring release into his schedule gives him a little more room to breathe.

The film will be led by Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, with a terrific supporting cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and the brilliant Wes Bentley, with a UK release date scheduled for 23rd March next year. Signs are definitely pointing to a huge box office success, and there’s every reason to expect an immense score to match those successes from Howard. I can’t wait.

In case you missed the great first trailer last month, I’ve embedded it below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’′]