Mission: Impossible 3: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Joe Carnahan has dropped out of the director's seat. Citing creative differences, Paramount Pictures has confirmed the move. According to Rob Friedman, vice chairman of the Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group, the film remains scheduled to begin shooting as planned next month at Berlin's Babelsberg Studios.

Babelsberg has had its own share of problems, with a recent takeover prompting a letter of protest sent to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder from a committee representing the studios' 220 full-time employees.

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Committee chairman Jan-Peter Schmarje said that big-budget productions planned for the studio, including Aeon Flux and M-I:3, will go ahead as planned.

According to Variety, Carnahan's ankling, which had been rumored for several weeks, will not change either the expected launch of production or the June 29 release date, according to studio vice chair Rob Friedman.

No official word had emerged Sunday on a replacement for Carnahan. Par and producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner were reviewing a list of about half a dozen candidates and were expected to tap a new helmer shortly.

Paramount decided three weeks ago to move the release date seven weeks later from the planned May 6. That sets up a confrontation between its tentpole spy franchise and 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four over the Fourth of July weekend.