Okay, not exactly, but similar to how the Joker’s bank heist served as the opening to The Dark Knight and as an 6-minute short in front of I am Legend, Tom Cruise’s fourth turn as secret super agent Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will feature another six minute prologue to Christopher Nolan’s third Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises. And just like Legend before it, only IMAX prints of Ghost Protocol will have the opening sequence, thus ensuring that the December 16, 2011 IMAX premiere will sell out nationwide, a full week before the movie’s main theatrical run starting December 21, 2011.
Seriously, who were the ad wizards who came up with that one? It’s god damn brilliant marketing. There’s already going to be crossover appeal between Batman and the Impossible Missions Force, especially considering that the latter is also the live-action debut of director Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles). The movie was bound to be a standard Cruise blockbuster, but attaching itself to the most anticipated movie of the last 10 years is guaranteed to make it the number one film in the U.S. a solid five days before its official debut. Surely that will be some sort of record, no matter how dubious.
The only question is, will the opening sequence have Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and/or Batman? Or will it also be like its predecessor and feature one of the new characters like Tom Hardy’s Bane or Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman? You know, if the marketing guys were really smart, they’d get Nolan to shoot two openings featuring both characters and then have them edited together in the final cut of the movie, as happening simultaneously. Or back-to-back, however the story allows. Though, the most unlikely, and thus most unexpected, thing to do might be to showcase Marion Cotillard’s mysterious, non-comics originating character who may, or may not, be Talia al Ghul, daughter of Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul from Batman Begins, who is known to have a cameo. Hell, what if the short is where Neeson’s cameo comes into play?
All right, fine, with Nolan and Batman there are always questions. Fair enough. Whether the prologue leaves them open, answers some, or raises even more, it will do its job to keep The Dark Knight Rises conversation going until Summer 2012. (Not that it was unlikely to die down any time soon.) In case you forgot the stellar opening sequence to The Dark Knight, and even if you haven’t, I’m embedding it below. You’re welcome.
How far in advance can someone purchase IMAX tickets, anyway?