ET, sold at the puppet auction for 2.4 million euros

Mechatronic model used in Spielberg’s film made by Oscar Rambaldi

ET has found a new home owned by an avid private collector of movie memorabilia. The mechatronic model used in director Steven Spielberg’s popular 1982 science fiction film was auctioned off Saturday night in Los Angeles for a price of $2.6 million (equivalent to around €2.45 ​​million). This was announced by the auction house Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, without however revealing the name of the buyer, who for now has asked to remain anonymous. The first bid for designer Carlo Rambaldi’s original puppet for ‘ET the Extraterrestrial’ was $500,000; its value had been estimated at between two and three million dollars.

The model is both a work of singular craftsmanship and a real piece of modern cinema history. Made of duralumin, the animatronic statue has 85 movement points (it can blink and rotate its abdomen) activated by electrical and mechanical cables. The lot also includes a 360-degree animated digital representation of the mechatronic model coined as Nft, created in collaboration between Julien’s Auctions, Rambaldi Studios and the Web3 platform Tinam. The Nft is narrated by the daughter of the creator, Daniela Rambaldi.

Carlo Rambaldi’s mastery in the field of mechanical and electrical engineering applied to cinema is also demonstrated by the monkey for the blockbuster ‘King Kong’ and by the grotesque parasite of ‘Alien’. ‘ET’, however, is considered to be his masterpiece, which required 12 animators to work. Rambaldi’s job was, in essence, to turn a prop into a main character and he created something so bizarrely ugly that it was cute. The result earned him an Oscar.

The auction was organized by Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies with the title “Idols and Icons” and included over 1,300 lots relating to as many props, including icons of cinematic history: Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 broom for the film ” The Prisoner of Azkaban” was sold for 128,000 dollars (about 120,000 euros); the sacred rod of Moses wielded by Charlton Heston in the 1956 film “The Ten Commandments” to divide the waters of the Red Sea in two was sold for 448,000 dollars (about 422,000 euros).