E.T. Screen Facts

E.T. The Extraterrestrial is a 1982 American classic often referred to as E.T. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film was nominated for nine Oscars at the 55th Academy Awards. It held the record for the highest grossing film of all time for eleven years. Spielberg’s Jurassic Park surpassed E.T. for the highest grossing film of all time in 1993. The screenplay was written by Melissa Mathison and stars Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, and Drew Barrymore. The plot follows a lost extraterrestrial, found by a young boy and his siblings. The siblings attempt to keep the extraterrestrial safe from government officials while finding a way to get the creature home. An empathic connection is made with Elliott Taylor, the young boy who originally finds the extraterrestrial, and E.T. Check out various E.T. screen facts below.

There is No Sequel

The original movie was so successful it played in theaters for a full year and had two theatrical re-releases in 1985 and 2002. When something is this big, Hollywood normally puts the pressure on to further develop and franchise. Steven Spielberg felt pressure for years to create a sequel. He even created a plot for a follow-up with original screenplay writer Melissa Mathison. In the follow-up, Elliot was to be abducted by enemy aliens and attempting to contact E.T. to rescue him. Spielberg decided he didn’t want to ruin the success of the movie and potentially dilute it’s value by adding more. The sequel was never made. 

In 1985, author William Kotzwinkle was allowed to write an official literary sequel titled E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet. This book was written from the perspective of E.T. watching over Elliot through the course of his life. It was quite successful.

Inspired by Childhood Events

Steven Spielberg’s parents had divorced when he was young. To cope with the intense feelings of loneliness and general adrift, he created an imaginary friend. As an adult, Spielberg had attempted to capture these childhood feelings into two separate films. One was never made, and one was more intense than he wanted; this one went on to become Poltergeist (1982). When Steven spoke to screenwriter Melissa Mathison about his two ideas and childhood experience, she was able to write E.T. Spielberg additionally included his real experience in the direction of the film. 

Soundtrack and Companion Album

E.T. won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. The soundtrack was widely successful. The film also had a successful but controversial companion album. The companion album was produced by Quincy Jones and narrated by Michael Jackson. The King of Pop agreed to do the album, so long as it was released after his planned Thriller album. This condition was violated, and they released the album at the same time as Thriller. Epic Records sued MCA Records for this violation, and they had to pull the album off shelves. Jackson still earned a Grammy Award in 1984 for Best Recording for Children, for his work on this companion album.

Turned Down by Columbia Pictures

Steven Spielberg had just completed the successful project, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) with Columbia Pictures. He believed E.T. would be a great collaborative follow-up to that success. Unfortunately, the Columbia president, Frank Price, did not have faith the film would appeal to adult audiences and declined the offer. Spielberg was then able to bring the script to Universal Pictures, who happily produced the movie. Years later, Frank Price would leave Columbia and join Universal. Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment Company was partnered with Universal. Steven went out of his way to request he never have to interact with Price. 

Reese’s Pieces Product Placement

In the film, Elliot uses Reese’s Pieces to calm and draw out the nervous alien. E.T. gladly follows Elliot’s trail of Reese’s Pieces into his bedroom. This product placement put Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces sales way up. Before it’s appearance in the film, it was a new product. It became a Hershey staple and has stayed on the shelves since. Originally the writer and director had wanted to use the more popular Mars’ M&M’s. Mars declined the use of their product as they found E.T. to be frightening for children and feared lower sales. Little did they know the movie would be super successful and drive the sales of their product up. 

Sources: MentalFloss ScreenRant IMDB

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