‘Mission: Impossible 4,’ ‘Rise of the Apes’ and ‘Ice Age 4’ Set Release Dates

Today offers three more release dates — one a change and the other two new announcements.

Beginning with the one change in the schedule, Deadline reports Paramount Pictures has set Tom Cruise’s return to the character of Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible IV for a December 16, 2011 release date rather than the previously scheduled May 28, 2011 release. This could have to do with the continuing leaking of details for Super 8, the J.J. Abrams written and directed feature set to hit Summer 2011 with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment producing and Paramount distributing. The teaser trailer for Super 8 will be seen in front of Iron Man 2, beginning with tonight’s midnight showings.

M:I 4 will release the same weekend as Alvin and the Chipmunks 3D and just after Martin Scorsese’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and just before Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, which tells me counter-programming was the major decision for the slot.

Next, Fox has announced a pair of upcoming films starting with Ice Age: Continental Drift marking a the return of Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo) for a fourth film in the franchise. Plot details can be assumed by the title as nothing official has yet to be released, but the film will hit theaters on July 13, 2012.

Ice Age 4 will release ten days after the Marc Webb directed Untitled Spider-Man Reboot and one week before the Christopher Nolan directed Batman 3.

Finally, Fox has confirmed the Planet of the Apes prequel, Rise of the Apes, which will be released on June 24, 2011 and directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) from a screenplay by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa who are also producing with Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark’s Chernin Entertainment.

Rise of the Apes is reported as a “tentative title” and is described as an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. Oscar-winning VFX House WETA Digital (Avatar) has been brought aboard to render, for the first time ever in the film series, photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors.

Rise of the Apes will open the same weekend as Disney and Pixar’s Cars 2 and one week after Warner Brothers’s Green Lantern with Transformers 3 coming a week later on July 1.

monitoring_string = "df292225381015080a5c6c04a6e2c2dc"