NEW YORK — Steven Spielberg jokes that he's pretty much undone all the good PR he's generated for aliens over the years (in "E.T." and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") by directing "War of the Worlds." But even if "War of the Worlds" is bad PR for extraterrestrials, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes turned it into good PR for them, as TomKat mania took over New York Thursday night with the hundreds of fans who lined up outside the Ziegfeld Theatre to get a glimpse of the newly engaged power couple at the film's premiere.
Witnessing the spectacle were Cruise's co-stars Tim Robbins, Dakota Fanning and Miranda Otto, as well as fellow celebs Hulk Hogan, Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin, Mariska Hargitay, Amy Irving, Bruce Willis, Nicole Richie and her fiance DJ AM, the last to arrive. (Click here for photos from the premiere.)
Nearly all the paparazzi angled for the best shot each time Cruise and Holmes kissed, sometimes yelling in unison, "The tree's in the way!" While Cruise and Holmes would sometimes kiss again to give them a better shot, they saved their most screen-worthy smooches — where he practically dipped her to the floor — for the crowd of fans, not the press. While his lady watched, smiled and kept silent, Cruise squeezed in a few interviews — talking about how amped he feels about watching the movie, comparing it to riding his motorcycle or flying in an airplane. "I like that suspense, that tension," he said. "It's not terror, but butterflies — how is this going to turn out? I don't know!"
While Cruise likes the sci-fi aspect ("Those aliens, man!" he exclaimed), the part he loves most about the classic alien-invasion tale is how we see it through the eyes of his dysfunctional dad character. "What interested me was the journey of that family, of that man, as he learns to take responsibility. They keep upping the stakes, that drama, that no parent wants to confront. Will he handle it? Will he survive?"
"I wanted to make a real movie with real people in a real situation," Spielberg added, "and not go destroying New York like every sci-fi movie seems to want to do. In honor of 9/11, I didn't want to prey upon New York. So this happens in New Jersey, on the Eastern Seaboard, as they make their way to Boston. It's a short odyssey, but it's dense. A lot happens in that short journey."
After "War of the Worlds" opens Wednesday, Cruise is slated to start work on "Mission: Impossible 3," which begins shooting in Rome on July 18 (see " 'Mission: Impossible 3' Back On Track, Set For 2006 Debut").
And as for the wedding, Cruise says he doesn't know where or when it will happen, he just knows that it's going to happen — and that he's "really happy" (see "Tom Cruise Proposes To Katie Holmes At Eiffel Tower"). So happy, in fact, that he wants to cast Holmes not just as his leading lady in life, but also onscreen — he's looking for movie projects in which the two can co-star.
Check out everything we've got on "War of the Worlds."
Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, interviews, trailers and more.