Universal Brand Development celebrates E.T.’s 40th birthday

Universal Brand Development (UBD) has given a first glimpse of the 2022 product launches marking the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic properties in cinema history – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

The birthday of the much-loved film from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment will be marked with a curated mix of special screenings, new consumer products, digital and social media campaigns as well as unique retail activations that aim to capture the magic and timeless appeal of the movie.

“It is simply a masterpiece and still invokes such a strong connection and reaction from global audiences,” says Paul Bufton, Vice President, EMEA at NBCUniversal Brand Development. “It is also a particularly good time for this anniversary because recently so many families have rediscovered, together, the immense joy of the film. Parents have watched E.T. and the kids, of course, now love it as much as the previous generation – quality storytelling and genuine emotion never get old.”

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial altered the pop culture landscape when it was released in June 1982, the story of a lost alien and the young boy who helps him to find his way home resonating with audiences worldwide. The film was one of the first global blockbusters to leverage consumer product tie-ins and the new campaign will be replete with nostalgic references that aim to please both the casual fan and the growing community of enthusiasts and collectors.

To mark E.T.’s anniversary, UBD has lined up a roster of global licensees to fully explore the product possibilities with organic extensions that leverage the toyetic and kidult appeal of the property. Toymaker Mattel has signed on to create E.T. feature plush, while additional global partnerships include Funko & Fisher Price (collectibles), WOW! Stuff (novelty), Tomy (pre-school plush), Basic Fun (retro collections) and Ravensburger (puzzles). UK-specific partnerships have been forged with Posh Paws (plush), RMS (amusement toys) and Nobel (chess).

In the UK, there is a robust Fashion & Lifestyle programme that includes babywear launches from Poetic Brands, Crib Star and Sleep no More to meet the newest generation’s demand for E.T.-branded clothing. A slew of new adult soft lines are also set for release in the UK from established names such as BooHoo, Poetic Brands and Fashion UK.

On the global fashion front, UBD has ensured that the E.T. programme will be prominently spotlighted in high-end boutiques and elite shopping destinations across Europe throughout 2022. New partnerships with some of the most influential retailers across the continent include Difuzed (adult/young adult apparel and accessories), Mini Rodini (kids apparel and home textiles) and popular fast fashion online platforms such as Zalando, AboutYou and EMP. H&M Kids is putting the finishing touches on its exclusive offerings that will be launched later this year.

In addition, a replica of Elliot’s iconic BMX bike will hit mass retail later in the year (E.T. riding in the basket not included).