20 Things You Didn't Know About War Of The Worlds

Happy 15th birthday to Spielberg's spry sci-fi blockbuster.

War of the Worlds 2005 Tom Cruise
Paramount Pictures

It might scarcely seem possible, but indeed, the Steven Spielberg adaptation of War of the Worlds was released to cinemas an entire 15 (!) years ago.

In addition to receiving solid critical acclaim and three Oscar nominations (for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing), the sci-fi tentpole was also the fourth highest-grossing film of 2005, raking in a mighty $603.9 million against a $132 million budget.

Though hardly one of the best films produced by either Spielberg or star Tom Cruise, it is an entertaining and relatively well-aged blockbuster, serving up just enough food for thought alongside its barmy spectacle.

And like just about any production this huge, there are a ton of juicy stories, anecdotes, and tidbits worth digging into, many of which may have passed you by when the film originally hit cinemas.

From a certain Hollywood mainstay who almost worked on the film, to its uncommonly speedy production schedule, War of the Worlds is a textbook example of an efficiently produced project where, with a lesser filmmaker, so much could've clearly gone horribly wrong...

20. J.J. Abrams Was Originally Asked To Write The Script

War of the Worlds 2005 Tom Cruise

Though the movie's screenplay was eventually written by Josh Friedman and later punched-up by regular blockbuster scribe David Koepp, when Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise were first putting the project together, they actually invited none other than J.J. Abrams to take a crack at penning it.

However, Abrams ultimately had to turn it down as he was developing the pilot for his TV series Lost at the time, a decision which evidently paid off handsomely given the show's ultimately huge success.

That said, Abrams did collaborate with Cruise just a year later, when Abrams both co-wrote and directed Mission: Impossible III in his filmmaking debut.

All in all, everything probably worked out for the best, as interesting as it would've been to see Abrams' take on the classic material.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.