Spielberg on Sci-Fi
In an exclusive online-only interview, Steven Spielberg tells EW's David Hochman why science fiction has such out-of-this-world appeal.  

Why are so many sci-fi films made?

Steven Spielberg: People simply love to tell bigger-than-life stories -- stories that are even bigger than this planet -- and audiences, with their boundless imaginations, are always right there to reciprocate.

Why is sci-fi such a money-making genre?

Spielberg: You have to remember that science fiction wasn't always a money-making genre. For many decades sci-fi was a public as well as a Hollywood disgrace. They lost money on almost everything except some of the low-budgeted Allied Artists sci-fi pot boilers like "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman." Science fiction was never taken that seriously by studios. So sci-fi film aficionados couldn't get the big budgets and were funneled into small-change categories where their films were forced to compete with some of the B-movie westerns of the 1950s. I'm grateful for people like George Pal, who elevated science fiction to the level of "War of the Worlds," "When Worlds Collide," "The Conquest of Space," and "The Time Machine."

Why does science fiction capture the public's imagination?

Spielberg: The public has an appetite for anything about imagination -- anything that is as far away from reality as is creatively possible. This is why, to a degree, sci-fi literature has always been successful. Cinema was simply the fortunate beneficiary of all the gifted sci-fi literature spanning a century and a half.

Is there any end in sight to the success of sci-fi?

Spielberg: If they ever bring back the western and that takes off again, science fiction will be given a run for its money. But I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future.