The Original Promotional Movie Poster Painting for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial sold for $394,000 Wednesday, Oct. 12 at a public auction of illustration art held by Heritage Auctions
in Dallas. Wednesday's auction was the first time the artwork was made available to collectors. The iconic original painting is the image used for the standard initial release poster that fascinated millions before the movie's big release in 1982.
The buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, and one or more under-bidders were each willing to pay well over the artwork's $150,000 opening price.
The art was produced by master movie poster artist John Alvin, who used his own daughter's hand as a model and taking inspiration from Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, Alvins' painting became the most well-associated image for the film. Alvin also produced artwork for such blockbusters as Blade Runner, Gremlins, The Goonies, The Color Purple, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.
The iconic image used to promote the film for nearly 35 years on posters, DVD and VHS box covers, lobby cards, T-shirts, and many more consumer collectibles spent the last 13 years hanging on Hollywood writer and producer Bob Bendetson's office wall.
"Every time my son's or daughter's friends would see the painting they'd stand in front of it with their fingers touching in the same way," recalled Bendetson.
Measuring about 41- by 27-1/2-inches, the acrylic-on-board original painting is signed by the artist, framed in museum-quality glass.
"The compelling image of E.T.'s finger touching a child's with the Earth below perfectly captured the awe and wonderment of this movie that was nominated for nine Oscars," said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions. "It's incredible that the original art for the poster has survived this long in absolutely mint condition but that only speaks to the love the owners have given the painting over the decades."