Mission Impossible

Paramount has announced that Mission Impossible 4 will now hit theaters on December 16th 2011. The film originally had a May 27, 2011 release date, which we assume has now been filled with JJ Abrams’ Super 8.

Previously:

When it was first announced that JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise were reteaming to co-produce a fourth Mission Impossible film, a lot of factors were unknown. Would it be a reboot, a spinoff? Would Tom Cruise return as Ethan Hunt? Would JJ Abrams also direct? In October we got a couple answers, as Paramount Pictures signed Tom Cruise to reprise his role as Ethan Hunt in M:I-IV.

However, the good news also came with some bad: JJ Abrams is sitting this one out.So who could possibly fill the director’s chair left vacant by Abrams, John Woo and Brian De Palma? How about Brad Bird? That’s right — the two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Pixar’s The Incredibles and Ratatouille, in addition to the critically acclaimed 2D animated feature The Iron Giant.

Bird is still in final negotiations to helm the fourth film, and Paramount is expected to announce his involvement shortly. Other contenders on the list included Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and Shaun of the Dead/Hott Fuzz helmer Edgar Wright.

Bird has been trying to crack the screenplay for his live-action debut 1906, which is set up at Warner Bros. The film has been in development heck since the recession hit, and the three studios involved started to grow worried that the $200 million projected budget which would be required to film Bird’s expansive story might be too much of a risk. Brad has been trying to rework his screenplay, trying to bring the film’s budget down by minimizing the scale of the film.

I’m very excited to see Bird tackle a live action film, and Paramount needs a director yesterday as the movie is gearing up for a Summer 2010 start to meet the announced May 27th 2011 release date.

Ethan Hunt will be the main star of the film, but the new sequel is being looked at as a “reboot” to the series. Here is what we know so far: Tom and JJ developted”a really cool idea” for a fourth adventure, which Abrams turned into “an insanely long outline”. Abrams employed Alias‘ scribes Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec to write a screenplay based on the treatment, which Abrams once joked “is probably longer than the script.” Applebaum and Nemec were well into the second act of a first draft when we last checked in (mid-January 2010), and Abrams seemed very pumped on the project. But who should direct?

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