About a month ago, it was reported that Paramount Pictures was mulling over the possibility of changing the title of Mission: Impossible 4 – to disassociate it from the previous installments in the Tom Cruise starring franchise.

Well, it looks like they’ve done it. Mission: Impossible 4 is dead. Long live The Mission!

The announcement of the new title came from Cruise himself (or more likely one of his minions), when he tweeted the following:

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4 UPDATE: Skydance Productions & Paramount Pictures join forces for “The Mission!”

While Cruise’s tweet errs on the side of ambiguity, it does appear that Paramount has indeed renamed the franchise with the aim of refreshing the Mission: Impossible brand.

Cruise famously had a very public falling out with Paramount Pictures in 2006 when Mission: Impossible 3 under performed at the box office, with many people believing that the lacklustre grosses (compared to previous franchise entries) were a result of the star’s couch jumping antics. The film still made a very healthy $397 million at the worldwide box office and a fourth film had always been in the cards; though, for a while, it appeared as if it might go into production without Cruise’s involvement.

As a result, the studio stipulated that Cruise take a pay cut for this new Ethan Hunt adventure – and they’ve paired him with The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner, in order to make the film more of a two -hander, rather than a Tom Cruise solo-venture.

It’s believed that Paramount sees The Mission (if that title sticks) as the beginning of a new chapter in the Mission: Impossible franchise, with Cruise taking more of a backseat in future installments to let Renner (and possibly others) take control of the series. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The last film in the franchise had more of a team dynamic than previous titles and with Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg set to return, alongside newcomer Paula Patton, it would appear (on paper at least) that the film will be more of a group effort.

Brad Bird is set to direct The Mission for Paramount and David Ellison’s Skydance Productions for a December 16, 2011 release.

Source: Tom Cruise