Minority Report is a 2002 American science fiction action film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the 1956 short story “The Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick. It is set primarily in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia in the year 2054, where PreCrime, a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by psychics called “precogs”. The cast includes Tom Cruise as Chief of PreCrime John Anderton, Colin Farrell as Department of Justice agent Danny Witwer, Samantha Morton as the senior precog Agatha, and Max von Sydow as Anderton’s superior Lamar Burgess.
The film combines elements of tech noir, whodunit, thriller and science fiction genres, as well as a traditional chase film, as the main protagonist is accused of a crime he has not committed and becomes a fugitive. Spielberg has characterized the story as “fifty percent character and fifty percent very complicated storytelling with layers and layers of murder mystery and plot”. The film’s central theme is the question of free will versus determinism. It examines whether free will can exist if the future is set and known in advance. Other themes include the role of preventive government in protecting its citizenry, the role of media in a future state where technological advancements make its presence nearly boundless, the potential legality of an infallible prosecutor, and Spielberg’s repeated theme of broken families.
The film was first optioned in 1992, as a sequel to another Dick adaptation, Total Recall, and started its development in 1997, after a script by Jon Cohen reached Spielberg and Cruise. Production suffered many delays due to Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 2 and Spielberg’s A.I. running over schedule, eventually starting in March 2001. During pre-production, Spielberg consulted numerous scientists in an attempt to present a more plausible future world than that seen in other science fiction films, and some of the technology designs in the film have proven prescient.
Minority Report was one of the best-reviewed films of 2002 and was nominated for several awards. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing, and eleven Saturn Award nominations, including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Saturn Award for Best Music, winning Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction, Best Writing, and Best Supporting Actress. The film earned over $358 million worldwide against an overall budget of $142 million (including advertising). Over four million DVDs were sold in its first few months of home release.