War of the Worlds (2005)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Justin Chatwin, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins
Director: Steven Spielberg

Opening Date: June 29, 2005


Want to see a movie based on a late-19th century novel starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg? Well, someone is bargaining that you’d desperately want to see it because they’re willing to invest millions into making it.

Yup, the novel is H.G. Wells’ well-known War of the Worlds about Martians invading Earth, which was made most notably into a 1950s movie as well as a TV series. Despite Paramount (a huge Hollywood company) betting on you wanting to see this movie, Pendragon Pictures (a not-so huge company) is also pretty sure of the material’s audience pulling power since it also has a movie version of the novel lined up for release next year, this time starring a cast of unknowns and made for a paltry (well, in comparison, that is) $10 to $20 million.

The Pendragon production apparently follows the Wells novel to the letter, sticking to the original novel’s Victorian England setting (none of the other filmed adaptations ever went this route). The Cruise/Spielberg version will be “updated” to a “modern setting” and takes all kinds of other liberties with the source material, courtesy of a screenplay by Jurassic Park scribe, David Koepp. (So, Cruise and Spielberg are remaking Independence Day then?)

But why this sudden interest in War of the Worlds? Paramount is so confident about this movie that it is slated for a Wednesday, June 29 release next year which will bring it in direct competition with the big screen Fantastic Four movie also currently being filmed. (*Note: Since the time of writing, the Fantastic Four movie's release date has been moved to 8 July which won't bring the two movies into such direct competition with each other.)

The fourth of July holiday weekend has been a lucrative one for studios (Men In Black and, uhm, Independence Day for example), but are they serious about War of the Worlds generating enough bucks to make back this sort of megabudget? (Especially when one considers that the previous Cruise/Spielberg project Minority Report, while being a decent enough movie, underperformed at the box office.) After all, you can practically pay off some poor, miserable Third World country’s debt with that kind of money!

Anyway, one can only hope that War of the Worlds is better than the previous H.G. Wells movie, namely the lousy The Time Machine, which was also (gulp!) produced by DreamWorks (a co-producer) . . .

Note: Don’t expect to see the Pendragon version on the big screen though, but rather it hitting the video shelves right before the release of the Tom Cruise movie. (OK, it hasn’t been confirmed yet, but that’s what I’d do.)




Plot Summary for War of the Worlds (2005):

Earth is invaded by Martian war machines.

Some sources:

Trivia about War of the Worlds:

  • Initially estimated to have a 2007 release date, this film was abruptly green lit in mid-August 2004, for a 2005 release, causing substantial delays in director Steven Spielberg's and star Tom Cruise's other projects.

  • Given the highest approved budget in history of $200 million. Though Titanic (1997)'s budget eventually hit $200, it was approved for $170. Spielberg's answer for the high budget: "We will spare no expense."

  • While filming in Bayonne, New Jersey, studio Paramount Pictures offered quick cash to residents who lived on First Street and Pointview Terrace to move their cars off the block, between a Tuesday and Friday. This was in order for the film crew to resume shooting.

  • The crew started filming only seven months prior to its release. In order to finish all 500+ CGI effects, Steven Spielberg did all the big action scenes in the early stages of shooting.

Some sources:

Photo Gallery:

(Click on pictures to download larger versions)


Trailers (QuickTime):

Teaser trailer # 1:

Teaser trailer # 2




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