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Press Release - September 13, 2016

Iconic original painting for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial inspired the Movie Poster at Heritage Auctions

Held by Hollywood Producer for years, poignant, iconic image could sell for $150,000, or more

E.T. poster original art
DALLAS — Hanging on Hollywood writer and producer Bob Bendetson's office wall for the last 13 years, the Original Promotional Movie Poster Illustration for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, is now expected to sell for $150,000 when it premiers Oct. 12, 2016 in Heritage Auctions' Illustration Art Auction in Dallas.

"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.

Universal Pictures outsourced the poster to a company called Intralink and its master movie poster artist John Alvin. Utilizing his 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 1982 film, which many critics call director Steven Spielberg's masterpiece and one of the greatest movies ever made.

"This original painting is the image used for the standard initial release poster that fascinated millions before the movie's big release in 1982," said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions. "the movie became the highest-grossing film of the 1980s so owning this painting is like owning a part of American cinema and Illustration art history."

The painting was sold to Bendetson, a two-time Emmy nominated writer and producer on television series such as The Simpsons and Alf, by an executive at Universal Pictures. The executive's son was working with Bendetson on a feature film at the time.

"I wouldn't be as impressed if I owned a Chagall," Bendetson said. "Of course, if someone were to give me a Chagall for free, I wouldn't turn it down. But for some reason, this painting is more exciting to me. It's so cool to have had such an iconic piece hanging on my wall."

So why sell now? "My wife decided that now with the kids in college, she wants to redo the office and sadly, the painting didn't make the cut," he said.

The iconic image has been used to promote the film for nearly 35 years on posters, VHS box covers, lobby cards, T-shirts, and many more consumer collectibles tied to the film. Alvin created one preliminary for this work and continued to produce posters for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on its re-releases in 1985 and 2002. However, it is this image by John Alvin that is seared into minds of the American public as a nostalgic symbol of friendship and childhood, Jaster said.

Measuring about 41- by 27-1/2-inches, the acrylic-on-board original painting is signed by the artist, framed in museum-quality glass, and is expected to sell for $150,000, or more, Jaster said.

"It's one of the rarest artworks of the most often seen image from the movies," Jaster said. "It's incredible it has survived this long in absolutely mint condition — but that only speaks to the love the owners have given the painting over the decades."

The Original Promotional Movie Poster Illustration for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial makes its auction debut Oct. 12 at Heritage Auctions' Illustration Art Auction in Dallas. For more information, visit

Hi-Res images available:
Eric Bradley, Public Relations Director

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