Steven Spielberg‘s E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial is one of the most beloved films of the 1980s (if not all time). While it seems unthinkable now, by no means was the film a guaranteed hit when it first hit theaters in the summer of 1982. In fact, as the rare teaser trailer featured above indicates, the marketing department at Universal Studios shied away from telling viewers much about the film in their initial promotion of E.T. — choosing instead to focus on Spielberg’s previous track record as a talented filmmaker with a keen awareness of what strikes a pop culture nerve.
We know how things turned out from here, but it is still fascinating to see the early days of a world-changing film phenomenon, wouldn’t you agree?
As a bonus, here’s Kitty Terry’s musical ode to the lovable alien, “E.T. Phone Home”
That’s weird and fantastic stuff!
This article originally ran in 2016, it is being reprinted as part of our ongoing Summer of Sci-Fi series of posts