Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was a pleasant surprise, in the sense that relatively few moviegoers predicted that it would be as much fun as it is. After all, five years had gone by since J.J. Abrams released Mission: Impossible III – still the lowest-grossing installment – and Tom Cruise’s luster had started to fade, which gave rise to rumors that Ghost Protocol would see IMF point man Ethan Hunt hang up his hat, for a younger lad to lead the missions heron out (Jeremy Renner, to be exact).

Instead, director Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible movie gave Cruise’s waning star power a blast of fresh energy, with the added bonus of reinvigorating the TV series-inspired espionage adventure franchise (resulting in a series-high $695 million worldwide tally). As such, we’ve been looking forward to the announcement that Mission: Impossible 5 will be released in late 2015, where it will duke it out at the box office with Jedi, Boston crooks, furry martial artists and (possibly) orcs for dominance.

Paramount has officially scheduled the fifth Mission: Impossible movie for release on December 25th, 2015, just over four years after Ghost Protocol hit the scene. The secret agent thriller reteams Cruise with Jack Reacher writer/director Christopher McQuarrie at the helm, with the latter drawing from a screenplay written by Drew Pearce (co-writer of Iron Man 3). There’s no word yet on who will join Cruise in front of the camera, though we should have a casting update soon (what with production set to get started in London by February 2014).

Where it concerns the plot, your guess is as good as ours, though we’ll venture so far as to say that Mission: Impossible 5 will involve Ethan bouncing around real-world landmarks (with assistance from a crack team that could include returning players like Simon Pegg and/or Ving Rhames). This franchise tends to mix it up in terms of Cruise’s supporting players, so it’s possible that Ghost Protocol operatives Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner won’t be making an appearance this round (especially since Renner might be preoccupied with filming on The Avengers: Age of Ultron).

Similarly, each Mission: Impossible film has its own unique cinematic flavor, varying from the operatic action style of John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II to the do-daring Saturday morning cartoon spirit of Bird’s installment. McQuarrie, if we judge by his work on Jack Reacher, could instill his film with something of a classic B-movie action/thriller vibe. Indeed, Mission: Impossible 5 could have something of a European caper throwback feel to it, though perhaps more pronounced than in this year’s Fast & Furious 6 (another Italian Job-esque throwback).

As mentioned before, McQuarrie’s film will have strong competition at the box office, with Star Wars: Episode VII and Warcraft having opened a week earlier; in addition, Kung Fu Panda 3 opens two days before MI5, while Ben Affleck’s Live By Night also opens on Christmas Day. While there’s a reasonable chance that Universal will blink and move Warcraft to avoid it being slaughtered (something /Film is predicting), Ethan Hunt should be able to handle the difficult opposition regardless. After all, for him “difficult” is a walk in the park.

Mission: Impossible 5 opens in theaters on Christmas Day 2015.

Source: Box Office Mojo