‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ was one of those classic ’80s movies that never got a sequel and never really needed one. But if it were going to get one, this short commercial for Comcast Xfinity is a fitting one. In a little over four minutes, the titular alien returns to Earth and reunites with Elliott (Henry Thomas), who has now grown up, gotten married and has his own kids. And he’s not the only one, as E.T. also reveals that he has a family himself.
Set against a Yuletide backdrop, this new ad, entitled ‘A Holiday Reunion’, which debuted on Thanksgiving Day on NBC, Syfy, and the Comcast Xfinity website, is a sweet distillation of the original movie, minus the scary parts. Reece’s Pieces? Check. Moonlit bicycle ride? Check. “I’ll be right here?” Check.
As Thomas said:
“The audience is going to 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.”
You can watch the entire thing below:
Lance Acord (‘Lost in Translation’, ‘Adaptation’) directed.
Of course, this is a commercial, so there are a few plugs for Xfinity products and services, which we mainly get to see when E.T. is introduced to the Internet.
NBC aired a two-minute edited version during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade telecast. Syfy aired the full-length version during its broadcast of ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on Thursday night. And the ad is also set to play in movie theaters from now until January 5, so if you enjoy this clip, you can catch it on the big screen! There is also a 30-second edit that will air during NFL broadcasts and during other programming. The ad is also expected to air on TV until January 5.
Peter Intermaggio, SVP for Marketing Communications, Comcast Cable said:
“Our goal is to show how Xfinity and Sky technology connects family, friends and loved ones, which is so important during the holidays. The classic friendship between E.T. and Elliott resonates around the world.”
Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of GS&P, added:
“People don’t care about technology inherently. They care about the way it connects them to other people. This story is an emotional reunion between two characters we know and love. It’s a perfect story for the holidays at a time when our emotions are very close to the surface.”
The original ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ made almost $800 million at the global box office and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning four. Steven Spielberg toyed with the idea of making a sequel, but abandoned those plans, not wanting to compromise the integrity of the first. But he signed off on this ad because, as Thomas said, it manages to follow up the original, without stomping all over it.
But what do you think? Is this a nice tribute to the original movie? Or a crass exploitation of a beloved classic?