An exhibitor source with an apparently proven track record contacted Slashfilm with the rumor that our most extensive look at the new Batman movie will precede the new Tom Cruise adventure in the jumbo-sized format. Back in December of 2007, Warner Bros included the opening bank robbery sequence of The Dark Knight with I Am Legend in IMAX, generating a whole lot of interest in Nolan's utilization of IMAX cameras and Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker.
While both that Will Smith feature and the Batman franchise are Warner Bros properties, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is distributed by Paramount Pictures. Still, it would be a smart move on the studio's part to capitalize on the fanaticism surrounding the super-secret The Dark Knight Rises. It would also propel bigger crowds to IMAX screenings, which of course means higher ticket prices.
The Brad Bird-directed espionage film is set to hit traditional theaters on December 21st, but will debut earlier in IMAX, on December 16th. Like The Dark Knight Rises, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol includes major sequences shot in the format, and that IMAX-only early release date indicates Paramount is serious about putting butts in seats for extra-large screenings.
Warner Bros has yet to comment either way on the story, but we'll update if or when official word arrives. Many a Bat-fan is probably crossing his or her fingers that six minutes of The Dark Knight Rises will be playing right before the end of this year. Either way, the last Batman starring Christian Bale and Gary Oldman will hit theaters nationwide on July 20, 2012.