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‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ Leads Weekend Box Office 23 Years After Reissue

Variety — Ellise Shafer

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” is back at the top of the box office this weekend for the first time in 23 years.

The film has grossed a total of $175,000 so far at 483 locations, originally reported Deadline, and is estimated to end the weekend in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. Directed by Irvin Kershner with executive production from George Lucas, “The Empire Strikes Back” has not had a box office lead since its reissue in February 1997.

The lead brings the movie’s total gross in the U.S. to $290.4 million, with its five-day gross standing at $210,000. Following its initial release on May 21, 1980, “Empire Strikes Back” nabbed the No. 1 box office spot stateside for eight weeks and earned $547 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of the year. Globally, all “Star Wars” films have grossed a whopping $10.3 billion.

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging on, drive-in theaters account for the majority of box office locations. Classic reissues such as “The Empire Strikes Back” continue to perform well at drive-ins, with “Ghostbusters,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Jaws” each collecting half a million dollars at less than 500 locations, as reported by Deadline.

“The Empire Strikes Back” is the fifth chronological film in the “Star Wars” series, although it is the second in the original trilogy. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz, it is highly regarded as the best film in the “Star Wars” saga and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2010.

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