In Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a strange little alien crash-lands on earth with one big wish: to get back to his home planet. In the film, young Elliott (Henry Thomas), has to grapple with saying goodbye to a dear friend who belongs in another world—a time-honored lesson in letting go.
But for anyone who didn’t love the idea of E.T. going home, there’s now a new, third option: buy the original mechanical model used for E.T. in the film, which will go up for auction in December, per The Guardian. It shouldn’t cost much—just a measly $3 million and change.
The model is being sold as part of the Icons and Idols: Hollywood auction, organized by Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies. The auction, set for December 17 and 18 of this year, also serendipitously coincides with E.T.’s 40th anniversary year.
Back in 1982, E.T. was critically acclaimed upon its arrival in theaters and launched the career of a young Drew Barrymore. The film was nominated nine times at the 1983 Academy Awards—thanks to the lovable oddity that was E.T. himself, it won for Best Visual Effects.
In a recent segment on The Drew Barrymore Show celebrating E.T.’s 40th anniversary, the cast reminisces on their first experiences with the mechatronic. Barrymore, who was five years old during filming, says she “believed E.T. was real,” and “really, really loved him.”
As her co-stars Henry Thomas and Dee Wallace also recall, Barrymore treated him like a regular old cast member. Thomas shares that Barrymore once asked for a scarf for E.T. on a chilly day on set. Wallace adds that Barrymore talked to the model so regularly that Spielberg appointed two animators to operate him whenever she started to chat.
Beyond being a piece of film history and a top-notch co-star for a little girl, the mechatronic used in E.T. is also considered an engineering masterpiece. Designed pre-CGI, the model functions using 85 different points of movement and was operated by 12 professional animators. Italian special effects designer Carlo Rambaldi led the charge on the design.
The Icons and Idols auction also features other items from the film, including the original E.T. maquette model that was commissioned for Spielberg to approve the final design. That model has an estimated worth of between $80,000 and $100,000. A series of original E.T. blueprint mechanical illustrations will also hit the auction block, estimated between $10,000 and $20,000 per drawing.
More from The A.V. Club