A Comcast Xfinity ad disguised as a heartwarming sequel of sorts to “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” aired Thursday during NBC’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast. According to a Comcast statement from star Henry Thomas, who reprises the role of Elliott he originated in the 1982 Steven Spielberg film, “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.” Watch the full four-minute short film — which builds upon the two-minute version broadcast on Comcast-owned NBC — below.
The E.T. campaign, which is set to air through January 5, will be screened across in-theater pre-shows over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. NBCUniversal’s Syfy will also play the longer version during Thursday night showings of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” A 30-second cut will run during commercial breaks throughout NBC’s NFL telecast, as well as NFL games across CBS and Fox.
In an ad that urges audiences to “Reconnect for the holidays,” Thomas’ Elliott shows E.T., who’s now returned to Earth, how to use the internet as well as Comcast’s Xfinity cable service. According to Variety, “E.T.” director Spielberg, who has kept the property close since the movie grossed nearly $360 million in the U.S. in 1982 during a long theatrical run, was consulted, and approved of the spot’s timely holiday theme.
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“Our goal is to show how Xfinity and Sky technology connects family, friends and loved ones, which is so important during the holidays,” said Comcast in a statement. “The classic friendship between E.T. and Elliott resonates around the world, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life.”
Yes, cynically speaking, the short is an obvious bit of self-promotion for the media giant, but even the coldest of hearts will be warmed to see American cinema’s favorite alien back on Earth. While Spielberg reportedly toyed with the idea of a feature-film sequel to his science-fiction family classic, he smartly avoided trying to recreate the spell it cast over audiences. The original movie won four Academy Awards — Best Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Score for John Williams’ sweeping classical-inspired soundtrack — and was nominated for a total of five including Best Picture and Best Director.