That’s sort of the case, according to a report from Variety, looking further into the “Mission: Impossible IV” updates I wrote about yesterday. The trade claims Paramount is so unhappy with the box office performance of Tom Cruise‘s “Knight and Day” that it wants to distance the “Mission: Impossible” franchise from the actor’s past within it. The structure will be different, featuring only two agents (Cruise and Jeremy Renner) — so I guess Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg aren’t being brought back? — and the title is rumored to be doing away with both the “Mission: Impossible” and the “IV” parts and going with something akin to “The Dark Knight” or, more fittingly, a Bond title.
Here’s what confuses me: isn’t the whole point of doing another “M:I” film the brand name? Part of the blame for the “Knight and Day” box office is on its “originality,” including its title, which interestingly enough is already quite close to the “Dark Knight” title. So this will just seem like another Cruise vehicle with an unproven title about a rogue spy. That sounds exactly like “Knight and Day.” It’s just now we’ve got Renner instead of Diaz (a better trade I can’t think of).
Also, since Cruise is still starring this isn’t really a reboot. If anything, I see Paramount maybe shortening the brand so we get something like “M:I: Hunt and Gather” (that’s assuming Renner’s character is named Gather, which there’s no reason to think is so), where the “Mission: Impossible” brand will appear somewhere in there, but everyone will just refer to it as “Hunt and Gather,” or whatever it’s called.
I have to say I believe it’s entirely possible to bring a fresh perspective on a series without rebooting it, even if only slightly qualifiable. “M:i:III” already did this, though financially that’s probably not a good argument for Paramount. I’m curious to see how this plays out. In the meantime, I think I’m going to revisit DePalma’s first installment at the recommendation of a reader.
Would you prefer the next film own up to being a sequel or that it go undercover with an unfamiliar title?