Why was E.T. not released on video in the UK until 1987?

sore napper

Novice Member
For some reason this popped into my head last night and I can't find or think of the reason why.

Why was E.T. not released on video in the UK until 1987 (I Think)?

Can't think of any other movies that had their video release held back for so long, unless they where banned.
 

lfc1394

Novice Member
I can't answer this question, but there were loads of Disney films that weren't released on video for ages (much longer than ET).The reason was they kept showing them in the cinema.
 

figrin_dan

Active Member
For some reason this popped into my head last night and I can't find or think of the reason why.

Why was E.T. not released on video in the UK until 1987 (I Think)?

Can't think of any other movies that had their video release held back for so long, unless they where banned.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that EVERYBODY had it on video in 1982!
 

bosque

Novice Member
When VHS started, movie releases weren't like the rapid DVD releases, they were years after the theatrical release and were very expensive, £60 at least. VHS rental was similar to DVD rental but still months after a typical DVD rental date.
 

sore napper

Novice Member
Yeah, I still don't think thats the reason. Loads of big movies came after ET. Ghostbusters, Back To The Future, Return Of The Jedi etc. All came to VHS within a year of their theatrical release.
 

PoochJD

Well-known Member
HI,

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that EVERYBODY had it on video in 1982!

Ah, no! Incorrect answer. You lose ten points! :D

"ET" wa released in UK and US cinemas in 1982. However, the film didn't come out on VHS until so late, for two main reasons:

- the battle between VHS and Betamax was still going on at this time, until VHS finally dominated the market in 1985 (if my memory serves), and because
- the cost of putting films onto VHS tapes for rental or purchase, was expensive for the distributors to do, as well as costing the customer a fortune. (Most people didn't have video players in those days, and so would need to hire-out a VHS player as well, to play the film on! :eek: Imagine doing that nowadays!)

Oh, and Spielberg himself was concerned about people not wanting to see the film in cinemas, too, and wanted to withhold the film from home viewing formats. Hollywood, meanwhile, was concerned about pirating of films, and copyright issues, which hadn't been fully ironed-out in US law. Hence, very few films (of any worth) came out in the early days of video, except for things like fitness videos and porn.

"ET" was finally classified with a U certificate for home viewing, in November 1988.


Pooch
 

surfprof

Novice Member
Funnily enough, E.T. was announced on a release schedule as early as 1985. I worked in a video rental store at that time and had an order in with the suppliers.

As it turned out, this release was pulled and the film went on general cinema release again in most countries around the world. This semed to be mostly in response to the fact that 1985 saw a huge increase in cinema attendance, particularly in the UK.

Anyway, as a result, the video release was held back until it had been withdrawn totally from it's second cinema release.

In addition, when it was due to be released on video, it was initially only meant to be available on rental, but this was eventually changed and it became available on sell through within a short period of time, annoying a lot of video rental shops, as the cost of the rental tapes was considerably higher than the sell through.
 
K

krusty

Guest
:thumbsdow i remember all the outcry when ET came out on pirate, it was on the news all the time. i think it was one of the first big movies that got hit by the pirates. i also remember signs in video shops warning the public about the peniltys for having return of the jedi on pirate video:lesson:
 

sore napper

Novice Member
Sell Through, two words I used to love hearing.

We used to have to wait a while for the sell through.

Sometimes the video shop ower would sell me the new x rentals after a while. It used to be magic, walking away with the video that you knew that next to nobody had.:smashin:
 

featherhall

Distinguished Member
Slightly off topic, but I remember the mid 80's and the VHS v Betamax war quite well, as my Cousins had their own stores in Fife.

It's funny, but I remember in 1987 wanting to own a copy of 'Cobra' on my dads new VHS player - even though I was younger than 18. The cost was £90 to buy the VHS tape. Needless to say the idea quickly left me.

Also, to hire a video was approx £2.50 - £3.50 per night for the new releases back then, and you usually had to pre-book the titles of new releases, especially if you wanted them Friday-Sunday nights. And you would only get them for one night. I distinctly remember getting the Eastwood film 'Any which way you can' and was sooooo excited.
The ET release was as described above, in that the theatrical run was very long, and with the film being so huge, and the video format relatively new the studio was petrified about piracy etc. The release when it did happen was huge though.

If one thing as changed for the good, it is that films are really cheap to buy on dvd etc now, and there are no such problems in obtaining new releases from errr. Blockbusters.

Still kind of miss these days a wee bit though.
 

sore napper

Novice Member
:thumbsdow i remember all the outcry when ET came out on pirate, it was on the news all the time. i think it was one of the first big movies that got hit by the pirates. i also remember signs in video shops warning the public about the peniltys for having return of the jedi on pirate video:lesson:

When did the pirate copy's of ET hit the street? Was it while the movie was still in theaters?

If there was such a high demand for it in pirate, you would have thought that it would have been released sooner.
 

featherhall

Distinguished Member
When did the pirate copy's of ET hit the street? Was it while the movie was still in theaters?

If there was such a high demand for it in pirate, you would have thought that it would have been released sooner.

piracy in these days was a disgrace though in that with technology not being what it is now, the pirate copies were shocking. I remember seeing one at the time, and the picture and sound were unbearably awful.
Nowadays, with digital means to copy etc the standards are high for most.

ET was built up to a crescendo for release with the public positively wetting ourselves by the time it came out.
 

sore napper

Novice Member
ET was built up to a crescendo for release with the public positively wetting ourselves by the time it came out.

I know, sad. I sat in the video store for 6 hours waiting for someone to return it so that I would be sure of getting it.:rolleyes:

Some pot stick walked in the same time as the person returning the video and nearly got his claim on it. The guy behind the counter had to explain to him that I've been sitting there for six hours without food and water waiting for it.

Now that I think about it, I used to be a fat kid. That must have been how I lost all my weight. Endless waiting in video stores waiting for movies to be returned.:rolleyes:

Hangs head in shame.....not:D Loved It

I remember waiting in one video store that long, that the guy in the shop ended up renting me his pirate copy of The Karate Kid to get rid of me.:rotfl:
 

pmc

Active Member
When did the pirate copy's of ET hit the street? Was it while the movie was still in theaters?

If there was such a high demand for it in pirate, you would have thought that it would have been released sooner.

Everyone I knew seen it on pirate before it ever hit the theaters. I think it was the first film I ever saw on video (was about 7 or 8 at the time). We got a video and borrowed our neighbours ET pirate copy. A load of my friends and cousins came round to see it. All my mates were really excited about ET because of all the publicity in the build up but it passed me by, I didn't know what everyone was so excited about.
Anyway by the time it came out I don't think I knew anybody who hadn't already seen it. Didn't stop everyone from going to the cinema to watch it though.
 

sore napper

Novice Member
Everyone I knew seen it on pirate before it ever hit the theaters. I think it was the first film I ever saw on video (was about 7 or 8 at the time). We got a video and borrowed our neighbours ET pirate copy. A load of my friends and cousins came round to see it. All my mates were really excited about ET because of all the publicity in the build up but it passed me by, I didn't know what everyone was so excited about.
Anyway by the time it came out I don't think I knew anybody who hadn't already seen it. Didn't stop everyone from going to the cinema to watch it though.


I seen the pirate after having seen the movie in the theaters. It was the first movie that I ever seen in the theater. I remember family and friends piling into my grannies house to watch the pirate as it was the only place with a video player, but it's all a bit of a blur now.
 

figrin_dan

Active Member
When did the pirate copy's of ET hit the street? Was it while the movie was still in theaters?

The one I saw would have been January 1983 (My 8th Birthday party). That and the "Thriller" video are the only pirate videos I ever watched fully.
 

Batdog

Well-known Member
ET was always a funny one.

Back in the '80s & '90s films took around 4 years from their theatrical release to their network TV premiere. ET was released into cinemas in 1982 and received its' network premiere on BBC1 during Xmas 1992.

Terminator 3 was released into cinemas in August 2003 and was premiered on Channel 5 around September 2004!!!
 

surfprof

Novice Member
I think it could be said that, in a funny way, E.T. actually benefited from being pirated so much at the time of it's release.

The hype was so great that when most people actually saw it first on the trashy, blurred pirate copies with sound that made the voices sound like Pinky and Perky, (shows my age), they almost had to go and see it again at the cinema to be able to see what it was actually meant to be like.

Having access to a pirate copy on video was like owning the Golden goose.

Of course this is just before all the fuss about "video nasties" kicked off and pirating and "under the counter" copies of films started to become the norm.

Not a lot changes in 25 years does it?
 

nwgarratt

Member
I saw the pirate ET and I was less than 10 years old so it would have been about 1983. It got to the end of the film and I asked what was on the screen. The film was taped over porn.

Back then it took around 3 years for the VHS to come out after the Cinema release. Even when it came to 1990, it took years for VHS to come out. I remember renting out Die Hard 2 when came out in 1992 which was 2 years after the film first came out.
 

sore napper

Novice Member
I saw the pirate ET and I was less than 10 years old so it would have been about 1983. It got to the end of the film and I asked what was on the screen. The film was taped over porn.

Back then it took around 3 years for the VHS to come out after the Cinema release. Even when it came to 1990, it took years for VHS to come out. I remember renting out Die Hard 2 when came out in 1992 which was 2 years after the film first came out.

WOW

I knew it took a while sometimes for movies to get their VHS release back then, but you're the second or third person to say it took years.:eek:

I guess that I was just too young to remember it properly, but I do remember being able to to buy the Die Hard 2 VHS when it can out.:clap:

I even think that it takes too long for movies to get their DVD release today. I may have some interest in some movies when they come to theaters. If I miss them there, by the time they hit DVD, I'm already interested in something new and 90% of the time I past them buy.
 

Batdog

Well-known Member
WOW

I knew it took a while sometimes for movies to get their VHS release back then, but you're the second or third person to say it took years.:eek:

I guess that I was just too young to remember it properly, but I do remember being able to to buy the Die Hard 2 VHS when it can out.:clap:

I even think that it takes too long for movies to get their DVD release today. I may have some interest in some movies when they come to theaters. If I miss them there, by the time they hit DVD, I'm already interested in something new and 90% of the time I past them buy.

I think there may have been a difference in how long it took for them to be released to the rental market, and how long they took to reach retail.

Terminator 2 was in the cinema around May 1991 and we got it on rental in November 1991. Six months until rental was always the rule of thumb back then.
 

nwgarratt

Member
I think there may have been a difference in how long it took for them to be released to the rental market, and how long they took to reach retail.

Terminator 2 was in the cinema around May 1991 and we got it on rental in November 1991. Six months until rental was always the rule of thumb back then.

It still took over a year for some rentals to come out. They were also at a cost of around £80 per tape !! The retails were still around £10 when they came out. I remember buying Nightmare on elm street 1 to 3 back in 1990 and they were £11 each. Prices didn't come down until DVD replaced it.
 

sore napper

Novice Member
I remember when the original Star Wars movies got there final releases, they where £10.99 each. Then the Special Editions came out on VHS.

I still have the original Star Wars movies on VHS, for some reason they where the only VHS tapes that I didn't throw out or give away.:smashin:

VHS was always expensive.:thumbsdow
 

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