E.T. has returned to Earth to reunite with Elliot. Of course, Elliot is thirty-seven years older with a family of his own. The short (4.19 minute) film is not a follow-up. Spielberg has always declined to do that. It’s part of a campaign by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for Comcast’s Xfinity cable TV and internet services. There is no branding in the film except for the end titles and the few technology references are woven perfectly into the story. In one scene, Elliott’s son shows E.T. a screen device and explains, “It’s called the internet…A lot’s changed since you were here.” In another, he gives E.T. a taste of virtual reality.
“People don’t care about technology inherently. They care about the way it connects them to other people,” explained Jeff Goodby, co-chairman, Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “This story is an emotional reunion between two characters we know and love.”
The new film includes an updated version of many of the original’s famous scenes and Spielberg was consulted during its making. It is perhaps even more emotive than the original – being condensed has amped up its power to give hearts a mighty squeeze and the Thanksgiving-Christmas period is the perfect time to do that.
A two-minute version of the film was released during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. The full version is available on demand for Xfinity TV subscribers. Xfinity subscribers with X1 can say “E.T. phone home” into their voice remotes for “an E.T.-themed destination.” Non Xfinity TV subscribers can watch the full film on Xfinity’s YouTube channel. A 30-second spot will run during ad breaks of NBC’s prime-time NFL telecast and football games on CBS and Fox, and then on other channels during the holiday season.
“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,” stated Peter Intermarrgio, SVP for marketing communications, Comcast Cable.