On this day in horror history, Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of author H. G. Wells’ sci-fi classic War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise hit theaters back in 2005.
Written by Josh Friedman and David Koepp, the film was shot in 73 days, using five different sound stages as well as locations in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. It was surrounded by secrecy so few details leaked before its release.
Co-starring Dakota Fanning and Tim Robbins, War of the Worlds was a box office success, becoming 2005’s fourth most successful film both domestically and worldwide, with $234 million in North America, and $591 million overall. The film earned three Academy Awards nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.
Dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) struggles to build a positive relationship with his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin). When his ex-wife, Mary Ann (Miranda Otto), drops them off at Ferrier’s house, it seems as though it will be just another tension-filled weekend. However, when electromagnetic pulses of lightning strike the area, the strange event turns out to be the beginning of an alien invasion, and Ferrier must now protect his children as they seek refuge.
Rated PG-13 for frightening sequences of sci-fi violence and disturbing images, it sports a 40% over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells’ classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.