The Mission: Impossible franchise has been going strong for twenty years now, ever since Tom Cruise first played IMF agent Ethan Hunt in director Brian De Palma's 1996 hit, Mission: Impossible. Reports of Mission: Impossible 6 having entered development even popped up before the fifth installment in the series, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, hit theaters in summer 2015. Those plans were not ill-conceived either, as Rogue Nation was widely-praised and grossed $682 million worldwide: only coming up about $12 million short of the global franchise high set by Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol in 2011.
Cruise's ended up amending his initial projection of a Summer 2016 filming start for Mission: Impossible 6 to this fall, when he appeared via taped message at the 2016 CinemaCon in Las Vegas, earlier this year. However, it's now being reported that filming on Ethan Hunt and his team's next "impossible" mission won't be getting started until early next year - for a couple of reasons.
Deadline is reporting that pre-production on Mission: Impossible 6 in London (one of the places where Rogue Nation also filmed) has been temporarily halted. This is because Paramount Pictures is still working out its payment deals with Cruise and other big-name producers (including Bad Robot heads such as J.J. Abrams) on the film. Meanwhile, Rogue Nation screenwriter/director Christopher McQuarrie - who is also calling the shots on the sixth Mission: Impossible - is going to continue writing the movie's script, after having plotted out the main plot beats for the next Mission: Impossible with Cruise.
Cruise is also currently preoccupied with playing one of the heroes in director Alex Kurtzman's The Mummy - production on which moved from London to Namibia, back at the end of July. So, as Cruise and McQuarrie are both going to be busy for the next few months anyway, the delay in pre-production on Mission: Impossible 6 isn't expected to prevent the movie from being delayed too much from its current targeted start date in the first quarter of 2017.
It was previously reported that Cruise wanted to start production on Luna Park - a heist/thriller set in space and directed by Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow and American Made collaborator, Doug Liman - in the first quarter of 2016. When that plan didn't work out, Cruise signed on for The Mummy instead. Which is to say: Cruise's commitment to that Universal monster movie reboot appears to be the main factor responsible for delaying Mission: Impossible 6's start of production in the first place, all talk of salary negotiations aside.
Still, as indicated, the salary negotiations on Mission: Impossible 6 aren't expected to cause huge problems for the film - and all things considered, it sounds like Ethan Hunt's next mission is now coming together at a perfectly steady pace. The cast for the movie - Rogue Nation players Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg - is likewise all ready to return, once called upon. If anything, the biggest challenge here is the one facing McQuarrie, as he's the first director who has to come up with a fresh idea for a second Mission: Impossible movie that matches and/or exceeds his previous work on the franchise. Based on his and Cruise's track record though (see also Jack Reacher), it's a challenge that McQuarrie is up for handling.
Mission: Impossible 6 is still expected to start filming in early 2017. We'll let you know when it gets an official release date.