This weekend some friends were visiting, and we were checking the movie listings for something to see (we ended up watching Trading Spaces on TLC instead, but that’s another story.) I noticed that E.T. was playing, the new and improved revival version. And I was a little surprised.
I don’t know why. A consummate geek, I knew it was being re-released. I knew about the debate over Spielberg, channeling the spirit of George Lucas, going back and ‘improving’ the original movie with all kinds of CGI tricks. I knew there were toys currently warming the pegs at my local TRU. I knew it was out in the theater, even. And yet, I hadn’t heard anything about anyone actually SEEING it. No one I know went to see it, and we’re the E.T. generation. No one I know with young kids said anything about taking them to see it.
I saw ET when I was younger, and it was okay. But honestly, I never really thought about it. For a movie that blew away the box office when it came out, and as much as I am and know geeks, no one I knew ever talked about it that much. I had always suspected that ET’s popularity was kind of a hoax, but the box office numbers seemed to speak otherwise. He was on magazine covers and there were plenty of references to him at the time, but there were similar references to Arnold from diff’rent Strokes. Was ET just a fad?
I checked the box office at RottenTomatoes.com and it seemed to do marginally well its first week, but it’s not doing so hot at the moment, and this has been a pretty slow time for movies - there’s not much out there competing with it. At least that seems like it to me.