Spielberg's '82 heartwarmer enhanced by 21st century tech

An enhanced E.T. will return in 18 months.

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment plan a major theatrical re-release of “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” in March 2002 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster.

The re-release will include never-before-seen footage, computer-generated enhancements and a digitally remixed soundtrack.

” ‘E.T.’ is my most personal film and my greatest gratification has been to see how the film and E.T. became loved all over the world,” Spielberg said in a statement.

“Even though ‘E.T.’ has achieved this special place in our lives, I always wanted to give audiences another chance to experience it as they first did — in theaters, seeing it again, or seeing it with their families. I also wanted to enhance that experience with advances in technology and some new footage.”

The studio plans a wide release similar to that of the 1997 rollouts of George Lucas’ revamped “Star Wars” trilogy, according to Universal rep Jeff Sakson. “We are going make a big event of this,” he added.

“E.T.” opened June 11, 1982, with 1,103 engagements and Universal Studios added screens each week until the number of play dates hit 1,778 after 10 weeks. Final domestic cume on the first run totaled $359 million, with another $40.6 million coming from a 1985 re-release, along with $303 million internationally. “We are so thrilled to bring Steven Spielberg’s cinematic masterpiece, and one of the most significant films in the history of the business, back to the bigscreen,” said Stacey Snider, chairman of Universal Pictures. “We look forward to bringing the experience of ‘E.T.’ to a whole new level and to a whole new generation of fans.”

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