For those looking forward to the next installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, we have a couple of noteworthy news items for you today: a change-up in the release date and the director of the movie being confirmed.

First up we have the news that Paramount has decided to push back the release date of Mission: Impossible IV from May 27th, 2011 to December 16th, 2011. I know what you’re thinking, it seems strange that a movie that’s part of a summer blockbuster franchise is getting a release so late in the year.

But there you go, you can catch the next impossible mission for Ethan Hunt just before Christmas of next year.

Moving on to the second Mission: Impossible IV news item, it’s been confirmed that Brad Bird (The Incredibles) will direct the movie after he was in final negotiations a month ago. Word comes from franchise star, Tom Cruise, who confirmed Bird’s involvement to Empire.

Cruise talked about the fact that along with Bird, Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) was also rumored to be directing the fourth Mission: Impossible. But ultimately, it was Bird who ended up getting the gig:

“I dig [speak to] Edgar. Very nice guy, very smart, very talented, I’d really like to do something with him… I met Edgar on the set of Mission 3. Simon Pegg and those guys are hilarious. I love Shaun Of The Dead. It’s amazing. But we’re working with Brad right now. I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it but everything’s signed… Brad is doing it.”

“Brad is enormously talented and JJ and I are having a blast, cranking away… We’re having a lot of fun. I like working with people I just love hanging out with. You get to hang out and laugh and talk stories and movies and technology: what are we going to do?”

Although I still find Bird to be a strange choice to direct a Mission: Impossible movie (after all, he’s only ever done animated movies and certainly not anything as large in scale as this franchise), I’m very curious to see how he does. He’s delivered enough great material within the world of animation (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant) that I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Just as a reminder, Tom Cruise is confirmed to return in Mission: Impossible IV as Ethan Hunt, and although J.J. Abrams won’t direct as he did with the third movie, he will return as the producer. Although no details about the plot have been revealed yet, we do know that it’s based on an idea by Abrams and Cruise. Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum (Alias) are writing the script.

What do you think of Mission: Impossible IV being delayed by more than 6 months? And are you glad Brad Bird is going to direct or is he  ill-suited to the franchise?

As stated, Mission: Impossible IV now has a release date of December 16th, 2011, a month where it will see strong competition from Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tin-Tin, Martin Scorsese’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Alvin and the Chipmunks 3D

M:I IV is aiming to start shooting this summer.

Source: /Film, Collider and Empire