Footnotes: Mission deemed possible

Brad Bird has just signed on to direct the fourth in the Mission: Impossible series.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible III.
Powered by automated translation

The Hollywood director Brad Bird has just signed on to direct the fourth instalment of the Mission: Impossible series. And perhaps the creative genius, who is responsible for the Pixar hits, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, might be able to inject some life back into the franchise. The film will be co-produced by Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible: III director JJ Abrams. Cruise will return as the secret agent Ethan Hunt.

The first film, made in 1996 with a cast that included Jon Voight and Jean Reno, was an instant hit, raking in almost $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) at the worldwide box office. Starring Cruise, as a double-crossed agent trying to clear his name, the franchise reaffirmed the pocket-sized actor's status as leading man material. The second film in the series, in which Hunt battled against the dastardly (but debonair) Dougray Scott, was another financial success, and paved the way for a third flick. A decade after the first film, Agent Hunt come out of retirement to help rescue an old colleague. But despite the success of the movie, plans for the fourth Mission Impossible were almost shelved in 2006, after Cruise and Paramount Pictures ended their 14-year relationship.

But two years after the split, the chairman of Paramount's parent company, Viacom, offered Cruise an olive branch, giving his approval for the actor to continue his role in the highly lucrative series. The fourth movie will be released next December, and all those involved will undoubtedly be hoping it can repeat the success of its predecessors.