The beloved sci-fi classic ET the Extra-Terrestrial got a short film sequel in the form of a Comcast Xfinity ad in 2019. But if you’re one of the fans who are still waiting for a feature-length follow-up to the 1982 movie, it’s better not to get your hopes too high.
Is ET the Extra-Terrestrial getting a proper sequel?
In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, ET the Extra-Terrestrial star Henry Thomas implied that a proper sequel to the blockbuster hit seems unlikely as the original director Steven Spielberg is highly protective of the movie’s purity.
“There had been ideas kicked around over the years. There were some serious talks early on because the studio was really pushing for it, to follow up the success of the 1982 season,” Thomas shared with ComicBook.com when asked whether a sequel or a reboot of the original is in development. “That’s why the commercial, I think Spielberg okayed the commercial because that’s as close to a sequel as he’s willing to go, as he’s willing to allow. The response for that Xfinity spot was so overwhelming and people thought it was a teaser for a sequel which created a huge, huge stir on the internet. I don’t know if it made it past the internet.”
What happened in the short film sequel?
Dropped during the NBC’s broadcast of the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 2019, the four-minute commercial, titled A Holiday Reunion, sees a grown-up ET returning to Earth to visit his friend Elliott (Thomas) for the holidays. Now a family man, Elliott introduces ET to his wife (Julianne Hoyak), son (Zebastin Borjeau), and daughter (Alivia Drews), who warmly welcome the extra-terrestrial creature to their home. In his short yet meaningful stay, E.T. learns a number of new technologies on the planet, including the Internet.
Ahead of the commercial’s debut, Thomas assured fans that they would “get everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people’s minds and hearts … Looking at the storyboards, I could see exactly why Steven was really behind it because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”
Though Spielberg didn’t have a huge role in producing the Lance Accord-directed ad, the Oscar-winning filmmaker was consulted throughout the process and responded positively to the commercial’s “connection” theme which was pitched by Comcast’s ad agency, Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
What was the canceled ET the Extra-Terrestrial feature-length sequel about?
In July 1982, during the original’s first theatrical run, Spielberg and Melissa Mathison penned a treatment for a sequel called ET II: Nocturnal Fears. It would have shown Elliott and his friends getting kidnapped by evil aliens, requiring ET to save the day.
Spielberg, however, ultimately decided against pursuing it, saying that it would only rob the original of its virginity, as the sequel would have been more about horror than family-friendly stuff.
How much did ET the Extra-Terrestrial make at the box office?
During its inaugural theatrical release from June 1982 to April 1983, ET the Extra-Terrestrial grossed $359 million in the U.S. and $304 million internationally. After earning nine nominations and four wins at the Oscars, the movie was re-released in theaters twice, boosting its worldwide cumulative gross to nearly $800 million. The film had a budget of just $10.5 million.
Who starred in ET the Extra-Terrestrial?
In addition to Thomas, the movie also starred Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, K.C. Martel, C. Thomas Howell, Sean Frye, Erika Eleniak, and Anne Lockhart. It also featured the voice of Pat Welsh, who did voiceover works for the titular character.
Check out the trailer for the film below: