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Development: Mission: Impossible sequels get release dates; Groundhog Day VR sequel; third SpongeBob film moved up

By Josh Weiss
Christopher McQuarrie Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Today's genre development roundup includes globetrotting spies, supernatural time loops, and a happy-go-lucky sea sponge.

The next two Mission: Impossible films, which are to be written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Rogue Nation, Fallout), have received firm release dates from Paramount Pictures, Variety reports. Tom Cruise is also confirmed to reprise his role as the seasoned Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt.

The seventh installment in the franchise will rappel down from the ceiling on July 23, 2021, while the eighth movie will arrive on Aug. 5, 2022.

“We couldn’t be more excited to build on the massive success of Mission: Impossible — Fallout by re-teaming with Chris and Tom on these next two films, following two successful collaborations," Jim Gianopulos, CEO and chairman of Paramount, said in a statement published by Variety.

As it did for the last three movies, Skydance is on board to produce the next two features. The company's CEO, David Ellison, recently made headlines after hiring former Pixar chief John Lasseter to be Skydance's head of animation.

Groundhog Day is getting a sequel, but not in the way you'd expect.

Tequila Works, Sony Pictures, and MWM Immersive are releasing a virtual reality experience based on the classic 1993 Harold Ramis-directed Billy Murray comedy about Phil Connors, a bitter news reporter who finds himself living the same day over and over again in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Players of Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son will take on the persona of Connors' son, Phil Jr., who grew up in the shadow of his renowned father, who became a local hero after his seemingly endless loop allowed him to better the lives of everyone in Gobbler's Knob. Now an adult himself, Phil finds himself living in a loop of his own.

Check out the teaser below. Fans will be happy to see that it includes a familiar face from the original film, Ned "The Head" Ryerson.

There's no release date for this experience just yet. However, you can take solace in the fact that Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring today.

Lastly, the third SpongeBob SquarePants movie from Paramount Pictures has been moved up to a May 22, 2020, release, writes Deadline. The animated Nickelodeon project was originally slated to open on July 17, 2020.

Titled It's a Wonderful Sponge, the film's plot allegedly revolves around SpongeBob meeting his iconic Bikini Bottom friends at summer camp, Camp Coral. Tim Hill, writer of the first SpongeBob film in 2004, is writing and directing, with Hans Zimmer handling the score.

Everyone's favorite porous fry cook will now open against Warner Bros. and Legendary's Godzilla vs. King Kong.