Several Screen Rant readers have expressed their curiosity about why Hans Zimmer is serving as the sole composer on The Dark Knight Rises and not re-collaborating with his Batman Begins and The Dark Knight musical partner, James Newton Howard. Well, today, it looks like we have an answer.

It was already known that Howard was providing the score for two action-packed blockbusters due out in 2012 (namely, Snow White and the Huntsman and The Bourne Legacy). However, it turns out his schedule is even busier than originally thought, as Newton is also now set to compose The Hunger Games.

Danny Elfman was previously onboard to provide musical accompaniment for director Gary Ross’ Hunger Games adaptation. However, according to a new report from Variety, he has bowed out because of a scheduling conflict. That’s not all that surprising, seeing how Elfman is currently working on the scores for Men in Black III and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie; he also has Burton’s Frankenweenie and director Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful on his to-do list.

Oscar-winning musician T-Bone Burnett (Walk the Line, Crazy Heart) is reported as still being onboard for The Hunger Games and will team up with Howard on the project. Insiders are also saying that Elfman’s departure isn’t expected to affect post-production on the anticipated young adult literature adaptation.

Howard is an eight-time Oscar-nominated composer/orchestrator who has scored every one of director M. Night Shyamalan’s films released over the past twelve years (ex. Signs, The Village, The Last Airbender, etc.). Other noteworthy titles either scored by or featuring musical contributions from Howard include The Fugitive, King Kong, Michael Clayton, Defiance, and the aforementioned Batman films, along with recent flicks such as The Green Hornet (which he also replaced Elfman on), Water for Elephants, and Green Lantern – among many, many others.

That’s all to say: while films featuring a score by Howard may not always be up to scratch, his musical contributions are usually quite good. In that sense, he’s a more than sufficient replacement for Elfman on The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games remains scheduled to hit theaters around the U.S. on March 23rd, 2012. In case you haven’t already, be sure to check out the official trailer for an early look at the film.

Source: Variety