E.T., that beloved movie alien, has returned to Earth - to do a commercial.
Comcast, the owner of the Universal movie studio that distributed the creature's blockbuster 1982 film, has placed him in a new commercial for the company and its broadband, cable and satellite products.
In the ad, which made its debut during the Thursday broadcast of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Comcast's NBC, E.T. returns to see his friend Elliott.
The character is once again played by Henry Thomas, the same actor who portrayed him decades ago.
"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," said Thomas in a Comcast statement.
To be sure, a new generation of consumers does not have the same connection to the Steven Spielberg movie as some people who saw it in the early 1980s.
Hearing the famous phrase "E.T. phone home" may prompt a current audience to ask why the alien won't text.
The ad shows E.T. back on Earth again, in a grown Elliott's front yard.
He hangs out with the man's family, who show him how to surf the web with Comcast's Xfinity and use an Xfinity remote to call up holiday movies on a big-screen TV.
He helps Elliott's kids fly on their bicycles, a nod to one of the most memorable scenes in the original. A graphic urges viewers to "Reconnect for the holidays".
Comcast approached Spielberg with the concept, according to a person familiar with the matter, and secured his permission.
The director appreciated the theme of connection at holiday time, the person said.
The spot will get prominent airing around the globe. Comcast said the ad will run through January 5 in the United States and in versions touting the company's Sky satellite service rather than Xfinity in Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.
Australian Associated Press