ET returns to Earth for a nostalgia trip in Xfinity ‘Holiday Reunion’

37 years ago, ET landed in theaters and in the hearts of moviegoers. Now, thanks to Xfinity, the ‘Extra-Terrestrial’ is back to bring everyone a nostalgic feelgood in time for the holidays.

Comcast NBCUniversal is continuing the story of friendship by reuniting ET and Elliott – played by a grown-up Henry Thomas. In the story, the iconic characters from the Universal Pictures classic tell the updated tale of connection using technology from Xfinity and Sky.

In a scene that will look familiar to the millions who have seen the original, a couple of kids hear a noise and search their back yard. There, they see the gangly arms of ET hiding behind a snowman. Turns out it's Elliott’s kids, and they bring their father out to reunite with his old alien friend. During the four-minute film, ET gets in touch with new technology, like VR headsets, speech-activated television remotes and Xfinity-powered tablets, along with having analog fun like tobogganing and watching classic Christmas movies on the couch as a family. Everything seems comfortable, until ET realizes he must go home again, but not before a bicycle trip across a moonlit sky.

This story was made in connection with Universal Pictures, part of the Comcast family of companies, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GSP).

“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. It’s really a win-win,” said Thomas in a release.

Peter Intermaggio, senior vice-president 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 ET and Elliott resonates around the world, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life.”

Jeff Goodby, co-chairman, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, 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 two-minute version of the story will debut during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC in the US, and the full-length four-minute version will be available at xfinity.com/ET.

In the UK, Sky also ran the same film, the first time the two broadcasters have collaborated on the marketing front.

See the film by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.