Steven Spielberg has said he believes science fiction films are the new cornerstone of Hollywood movie-making.
The ET director, who produced JJ Abrams' latest project Super 8, said sci-fi movies have "replaced" Westerns in the popular imagination.
"I've always been fascinated by them," he said at the film's Hollywood premiere.
"I think movies about aliens today have replaced the Western.
"The first movie ever made was really the Great Train Robbery, you know, and Westerns were part of the identity of Hollywood for over 80 years, and I think science fiction is now the new identity of Hollywood."
Super 8 tells the story of a group of teenagers who witness a train crash while making an amateur movie - later growing to believe a sinister presence is wreaking havoc in their community.
The much-hyped film stars Somewhere's Elle Fanning alongside a cast of lesser-known teens.
Spielberg said the young actors were the best thing about the film, describing their performances as "incredible".