Mission Impossible 4’s Fate Depends on Knight and Day

“Mission Impossible 4” by December 2011, right? Not so fast, my friends who enjoy crazy explosions and International spy adventures. According to Deadline, an “MI: 4” isn’t nearly as inevitable as you’d think, even with Cruise back as Ethan Hunt and J.J. Abrams producing, and Brad Bird firmly in the director’s seat. Apparently the decision to either go ahead with “MI: 4” depends entirely on … the box office performance of Cruise’s “Knight and Day”, opening this week.

And you can see why, actually. “Knight and Day” is essentially a “Mission Impossible” movie with less of the cloak and dagger stuff and a lot more of the humor stuff. It’s Tom Cruise playing Ethan Hunt, but not named Ethan Hunt. So you can sort of understand why Paramount is waiting to see how audiences react to Cruise in “Knight and Day” before they hand over what is undoubtedly going to be a pretty million or two (or $150) for another “Mission Impossible” movie.

On the positive side, despite mostly middling reviews, “Mission Impossible 3”, which was written and directed by J.J. Abrams, still made a tidy $397 million in worldwide grosses back in 2006, with $134 million of that coming from Stateside audiences. That number may not look nearly as impressive compared to part two’s $546 back in 2000, but it still means that “Mission Impossible” is very much a viable action franchise, and in my opinion, Paramount would be foolish not to tap into it.