In the heyday of the 1980s entertainment industry, huge blockbuster movies were the crème de la crème of filmmaking. At the top of the A-list was none other than “Jaws” mastermind Steven Spielberg. Spielberg was in his mid-30s in the early ’80s, and, hot off the success of his 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” was in search of his next picture to direct. Columbia Pictures wanted to hire Spielberg to direct the sequel to “Close Encounters,” yet he was far from interested.
Columbia Pictures was the famous studio known for distributing some of the biggest hits of the ’80s, such as “Ghostbusters” and “Karate Kid,” which were both released in June of 1983. Columbia was originally slated to distribute “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (originally titled “Night Skies” and based on a much bleaker concept), but the studio envisioned a different direction for the story than what Spielberg wanted. It’s quite often that the ideas of a director and studio clash and, because of other bumps in the road, it was clear as day that Columbia was not the right distributor for Spielberg’s extraterrestrial story that grew into a warmhearted, child-friendly film about a boy who befriends an alien.