JOHN CARPENTER‘s THE THING‘s poor box office performance has been blamed time and time again on the fact that STEVEN SPIELBERG‘s E.T. was released two weeks prior. Although the diminutive Reeses Pieces pusher may not have helped matters much, it is more likely that bad merchandising judgment was the film’s ultimate downfall. Looking back, it seems Universal (who also released E.T.) made every conceivable mistake while promoting their would-be summer blockbuster and only have themselves to blame if audiences were less than enthusiastic by the time the actual movie hit theaters.