The last time audiences saw super spy Ethan Hunt on screen in 2011, Lalo Schifrin’s iconic Mission: Impossible score seemed to be playing him toward the exit. Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt character had breathed new life into the franchise’s fourth installment, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, leading to speculation that the Hurt Locker lead would take over the reins from star Tom Cruise.
And in Ghost Protocol’s final scene — SPOILER ALERT — Cruise as Hunt is shown wistfully reconnecting with his supposedly dead wife (Michelle Monahan). That’s a clear violation of the secret agent playbook if there ever was one.
Then a funny thing happened on Ethan Hunt’s trip out to pasture. Ghost Protocol took in over $700 million at the box office — a personal best for Cruise, long one of moviedom’s most bankable stars, as well as a financial high-water mark for the already blockbuster M:I franchise.
Now Cruise has signed on to reprise his role as the world-beating IMF agent in a fifth Mission: Impossible movie. As reported by Deadline Monday and confirmed Tuesday by franchise distributor Paramount, the actor will star in and produce the new sequel, developing the project with Star Trek: Into Darkness director-producer J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot.
Christopher McQuarrie — who directed last year’s Cruise-starring action adventure Jack Reacher and wrote Cruise’s 2008 Nazi thriller Valkyrie — is reportedly the leading contender to direct the new sequel.
The Mission: Impossible franchise has earned more than $2 billion globally, to rank among Hollywood’s most successful movie series.
Madonna will be honored at the Billboard Music Awards show this month for her 2012 MDNA tour, the highest grossing concert tour of the year, organizers of the awards show said on Wednesday.
The singer will accept the Top Touring Artist award at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 19 for the tour that grossed more than $305 million from 88 sold-out shows and attracted an audience of 2.2 million people.
“The chart-topping singer holds numerous other Billboard awards, including the record for the most top 10 singles (38).
In addition to her music, Madonna is an avid art collector. On Tuesday she sold a 1921 painting by the French artist Fernand Leger, Trois Femmes a la Table Rouge, for $7.16 million to raise money for the nonprofit Ray of Light Foundation, to fund girls’ education in poor countries.
Mariah Carey, whose clash with fellow American Idol judge Nicki Minaj has made headlines overshadowing the talent competition, warned Fox before the season began that having herself and the rapper-singer on the same panel could cause trouble, said her husband, Nick Cannon.
In a Tuesday appearance on Los Angeles’ KTLA Morning News, Cannon said of the feud, “My wife [had] foreseen all this. She tried to tell the network, ‘I don’t think this is going to work. I’m afraid ... I don’t need this.’ “
Cannon said Carey warned that pairing her and Minaj on the same panel was “taking it in the wrong direction, because this is going to turn into one of those reality shows. She’s like, ‘I didn’t sign up to be on Love and Hip Hop.’”
Ratings for the popular series have steadily declined this season. While Minaj has been a standout that has attracted positive reaction from viewers, Carey has not generated the same excitement. Rumors popped up last week that Fox was planning to replace Carey with former Idol judge Jennifer Lopez. Fox denied the report when Carey threatened legal action.
Show will go on
Before he died last month, George Jones had scheduled a star-packed final concert for November. It turns out the show will go on.
Jones’ widow, Nancy, said Tuesday that Garth Brooks, Kid Rock, and several more performers have agreed to keep the Nov. 22 date and appear in tribute to Jones at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The show was previously sold out.
Jones died April 26 at a Nashville hospital at 81. Thousands attended a memorial last week in Nashville to celebrate a defining male voice of country music.
Nancy Jones also said Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Montgomery Gentry, and Travis Tritt have signed on. Lineup updates will appear on Jones’ Web site.
New role for Redford
CNN is planning an unscripted series about Chicago that will be executive-produced by Robert Redford.
The eight-part series, Chicagoland, will premiere in 2014.
CNN said Wednesday that Chicagoland will explore where politics and policy meet people’s lives in the quintessentially American city.
Redford called Chicago a city with “a rhythm all its own” and said he is “honored” to play a part in telling its story.
A cameo by actor Nicolas Cage lent some pizazz to a hearing in the Nevada Legislature on a bill proposing tax incentives to entice filmmakers to produce in the Silver State.
The appearance by the Leaving Las Vegas star came as lawmakers discussed a proposal that would allow filmmakers to apply for tax credits up to $6 million per production. If approved, the filmmaker could then sell that tax credit to another Nevada business to use as a discount on their taxes.
Critics claim the projected grandiose economic benefit is really a fantasy that will end up costing the state.