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War on Path to Victory

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War on Path to Victory

A vast number of disappearances on Wednesday may be attributed to the opening of Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. The film abducted moviegoers to the tune of $34.6 million worldwide, marking the biggest opening day in Paramount history and star Tom Cruise’s career.

Domestically, War of the Worlds snatched up $21.2 million in 3,908 theaters, and racked up an additional $13.3 million (est.) internationally from 46 territories. The film has yet to open in 10 markets, including the U.K., France, Belgium and Korea.

A contemporary retelling of Wells’ sci-fi literary classic, Spielberg’s $135 million PG-13 action thriller employs visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic to depict the battle for the future of humankind as seen through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive an alien invasion. Cruise is joined in the cast by Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin and Tim Robbins. Josh Friedman and David Koepp scripted this adaptation of the beloved novel, which was first brought to the screen by George Pal in 1956 and has been mined for numerous telepics and direct-to-video productions.

Presented by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, War of the Worlds is a production of Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Cruise|Wagner. The pic is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson, with Paula Wagner serving as exec producer.

The effects tour de force should ignite more box office fireworks over the long Fourth of July weekend, displacing Warner Bros.’ Batman Begins as the top movie. However, the return of the Dark Knight should also get a boost from the holiday weekend as latecomers take advantage of the day off to catch up on their caped crusading.

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