The Empire Strikes Back tops box office again, 40 years after original release
The Empire strikes box office gold once again.
Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back is the top-grossing film this weekend, according to Deadline, taking in an estimated $175,000 across nearly 500 locations on Friday. It's expected to end up somewhere in the $400,ooo to $500,000 range by the end of the weekend.
Screenings of Empire this summer have coincided with the 40th anniversary of the film, which originally arrived in theaters on May 21, 1980. The film took in over $209 million domestically during its original release, with the 1997 Special Edition re-release adding another $67.6 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Clearly, the Force is strong with this one.
With movie theaters still mostly closed across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-in screenings of classic titles have been the primary option for moviegoers looking to get out and see something. (Other top earners this weekend reportedly included Black Panther and Inside Out.) A handful of new titles are continuing to open at drive-in venues and select theaters as well as VOD or streaming, however, including the new horror movie Relic, which hit screens this weekend.
The pandemic has decimated box office earnings this year, with the majority of studio releases postponed or shifting to streaming. It remains unclear whether theaters will be able to reopen this year at all, having already posted billion-dollar losses.