Speaking after a 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in L.A. (thanks to AllThingsFanGirl for the transcription), Spielberg was asked how he felt about George Lucas‘ continual tampering with the Star Wars films. The Oscar winner answered by elaborating on his own reasons for altering E.T. (replacing guns in the film with walkie-talkies; editing some curse words), and why he planned on rolling the changes back.
“[My] feeling is he can do whatever he wants with his movies because those are his movies. We wouldn’t have been raised with Star Wars or Indiana Jones had it not been for George, so what he does with his films is great. Speaking for myself, you know, I tried this once and I lived to regret it. Not because of fan outrage, but simply because I was disappointed in myself. I was overly sensitive to some of the criticism ET got from parent groups when it was first released in ’82…but then I realized that what I had done was I had robbed the people who loved ET of their memories of ET. And I regretted that.”
Spielberg then asked the audience a question he already knew the answer to:
“I’d like to ask you this, let’s do a little poll here, cause I know we’re coming out with the Blu-ray of ET, if I just came out with one ET on Blu-ray, 1982, would anyone object to that? (loud NO from the audience). Okay then, so be it. (huge applause)”
Discuss: How do you feel about digital alterations to classic films? I discussed this very topic in my review of Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D.