In a previous poll, many of you predicted that Tom Cruise's career was all but over - tripped up by a wave of gossip and sloppy spin, a lot of you seemed fairly sure that the gross of War of the Worlds would fall far short of studio expectations. Well, sorry guys - you were wrong. It wasn't, like, the best weekend ever, but Speilberg's latest did make more money in its first days than any Tom Cruise film ever. Wait a minute - a summer movie managed to surmount two months of bad buzz just by being kinda good? It's enough to *almost* restore our faith in the Hollywood machine (but not quite).

So: battle won. But Tom Cruise is still facing a very real media war. How far does the success of War of the Worlds - with both audiences and critics - go towards ammeliorating the damage done to Cruise's star capital by his five or six all-too-recent public relations disasters? It seems clear that he needed hit-movie-equity in the worst way - now that he has it, what should he do next to secure his title as World's Biggest Star?

*special Tuesday edition