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After nearly 40 years, a grown-up Elliott (Henry Thomas) reunites with his alien pal in the most heartwarming commercial you'll see all Thanksgiving. Now with a family of his own, Elliott (with some help from his son and daughter) is able to introduce E.T. to the advancements of the 21st century, such as the internet and virtual reality.
Technically produced to promote Comcast Xfinity, the ad transcends that to say something genuine about reconnecting with our loved ones during the holiday season. Elliott's unbridled joy at seeing his old friend come back and the utilization of John Williams' iconic score are enough to melt even the coldest of hearts.
“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,” Thomas said in a statement.
“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, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life," added Peter Intermaggio, Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications, Comcast Cable.
Get a box of tissues before checking out the ad (titled A Holiday Reunion) below:
“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," explained Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the creative agency behind the saccharine sequel.
Lance Acord, cinematographer for Lost in Translation and Adaptation, directed the sentimental spot, which will air on the SYFY channel this evening during airings of E.T. at 6 p.m. EST and 8:38 p.m. EST.
“More than anything, the whole story is about family," Acord said.
The film is also available to watch on demand for Xfinity TV customers. If you have X1, say "E.T. Phone Home" into your voice remote to be taken to "an E.T.-themed destination." Should you visit a physical Comcast store, make sure to pick up limited edition E.T. coloring books and candy.
Released in the summer of 1982, E.T. took the world by storm, captivating audiences and becoming the highest-grossing movie at the time. Spielberg actually planned to make a direct sequel called Nocturnal Fears in which E.T. returned to save Elliott and his friends from a group of malevolent aliens.
Luckily, the legendary director—who was consulted on the Xfinity commercial—decided not to tarnish the innocence of the first movie and canceled the follow-up.
“Looking at the storyboards [for the ad], I could see exactly why Steven was really behind it, because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling," added Thomas in his statement.
While the actor is best known for his emotional role in E.T., he did go on to star in other genre projects, many of them helmed by Mike Flanagan. In addition to Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald's Game, and The Haunting of Hill House, he also played a ghost version of Jack Torrance at the rundown Overlook Hotel in Doctor Sleep.
SYFY WIRE and NBCUniversal are both owned by Comcast