Tom Cruise Holding Onto “Mission: Impossible,” But It's Getting Dicey

Boy, the spy business is a tough gig. How many times in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise have we seen one character whip off a mask and actually turn out to be another character. That's how Tom Cruise must feel after reading his latest press for "Mission: Impossible IV."

On the outside, Paramount is gung-ho for Tom to reprise his role in the mega-franchise. But on the inside, it's a very different story, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Damn, there are double-agents everywhere!

First came the statement of support from Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore. "We absolutely are excited about having Tom Cruise star in the movie," he said Tuesday.

But according to THR, the studio is not so sure and monitoring the overseas performance of Cruise's "Knight and Day" before they really decide. Even as we speak, there are guys in windowless van watching those numbers come in as they drink cold coffee.

What's with the extra-research? If Cruise tanks on the foreign box office, they may actually recast the Ethan Hunt role. Yes, you read that correctly. The foreign box office has always been a big part of the box office draw for the films and, in the past, Cruise has managed to put bums in seats in every country. But if he fails on this mission… well, just imagine someone making a swift hand movement across their neck.

"It all depends on whether Tom Cruise brings in foreign bucks," one film executive told the website.

It's kind of like that famous scene in "Mission Impossible" where Ethan Hunt is hanging by cords over the CIA's toughest vault. One wrong move and the alarms go off.

Of course, there's a more complex story behind the lackluster performance of "Knight and Day" in the domestic box office. The marketing might have misfired by not playing up Cruise's lovely face enough and so on. Cruise has at least another Ethan Hunt film in him. And he will prevail.

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