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An original model of E.T. is sold at auction for $2.56 million

The original model of E.T. used in Steven Spielberg's<em> E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial</em> film sold at auction for $2.56 million.
Pictorial Press/Alamy
The original model of E.T. used in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial film sold at auction for $2.56 million.

Our favorite extraterrestrial friend, E.T., has a new home after being sold for $2.56 million at an auction over the weekend.

The original mechatronic model of the alien from Steven Spielberg's 1982 classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial headlined Julien's Auctions' "Icons and Idols: Hollywood" auction. Held in partnership with Turner Classic Movies, the auction presented more than 1,300 Hollywood artifacts.

The mechatronic model is considered an engineering masterpiece, featuring 85 points of movement and earning the Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi his third Academy Award in visual effects in 1983.

"One of the rarest and most remarkable pieces of Hollywood memorabilia ever to come to auction, Julien's is honored to present one of the actual, last surviving, authentic animatronic E.T.'s used during the making of the beloved and cherished blockbuster film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which captured the hearts of audiences across the world," the auction website said.

The small alien's extendable neck was inspired by one of Rambaldi's own paintings of women from his hometown in Italy, which he portrayed with long necks, according to the auction site. Rambaldi believed the neck could act as an "empathic" way for E.T. to interact with humans.

"We all kind of regard him as a living breathing organism, he's a real creature, I think for me, in my experience, he is the eighth wonder of the movie world," Spielberg said, according to the auction.

Carlo Rambaldi's original maquette model of E.T. was shown to Spielberg during pre-production for a character concept visualization.
/ Screenshot of Julien's Auction website
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Screenshot of Julien's Auction website
Carlo Rambaldi's original maquette model of E.T. was shown to Spielberg during pre-production for a character concept visualization.

Rambaldi's original maquette model of E.T., which was shown to Spielberg during pre-production for a character concept visualization, sold for $125,000.

Other high-profile sales include Harry Potter's Nimbus 2000 broom in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which sold for $128,000, Thor's Mjölnir hammer from Thor: The Dark World which sold for $115,200, and Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber from Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace which sold for $51,200.

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Ashley Ahn
Ashley Ahn is an intern for the Digital News and Graphics desks. She previously covered the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for CNN's health and medical unit and the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers for CNN's Atlanta News Bureau. She also wrote pieces for USA TODAY and served as the Executive Editor of her college's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Ahn is pursuing a master's degree in computer science at Columbia University.
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