February 22, 2002 01:00 AM

Sarah Hughes isn’t the only petite star being talked about in Salt Lake City. Another one had the Winter Games buzzing this week. On Wednesday, for the world premiere of its newly restored, 20th anniversary print, the Steven Spielberg fantasy “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was shown in the Utah city’s Abravanel Hall at an exclusive screening for athletes in competition, their families and guests of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, reports USA Today. The showing came about because, the paper explains, the charter of the International Olympic Committee calls for a concurrent cultural program during the competition “to promote harmonious relations among people, which is the central theme of ‘E.T.,’ ” said Raymond Grant, artistic director of the Olympic Arts Festival. And besides, movie producer Frank Marshall, husband of “E.T.” producer Kathleen Kennedy, sits on the U.S. Olympic Committee’s board. The digitally enhanced new version of the box-office favorite sharpens the picture and 2002 state-of-the-art animation brings new energy to the alien’s face, fans who attended the screening told the paper. Also added: a brief Halloween segment featuring Drew Barrymore, who was 7 when she made the movie. Deleted: guns from the government officials’ hands in the foreboding opening scenes. And, in a concession to the events of Sept. 11, said USA Today, the word “hippie” has been dubbed in for “terrorist” during a scene in which Mom (Dee Wallace-Stone) warns Michael (Robert MacNaughton) not to put on a particular costume. The movie re-opens nationally on March 22.

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