23 years after it last hit the number one spot in the United States with the Special Edition, The Empire Strikes Back once again reigns supreme as the re-release rakes in $175k on Friday on its way to an estimated weekend nearing half a million dollars ahead of Marvel’s Black Panther and Pixar’s Inside Out. Not a bad way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the greatest sequel ever made.
For the first time since the February 1997 reissue, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is leading at the box office this weekend after clocking an estimated $175K at 483 locations. Empire should end the weekend with a 3-day take in-between the high $400K and low $500K.
Last night’s gross for Empire Strikes Back brings the 1980 George Lucas-executive produced and story by, and Irvin Kershner-directed movie’s lifetime gross to $290.4M stateside. The pic’s five-day gross stands at $210K.
Empire Strikes Back, according to Box Office Mojo, held the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office for eight weeks following its May 21, 1980 release. There was a 1982 re-release, and then the Lucas-tweaked and revived 1997 edition, which had a two-weekend run at No. 1, grossing $21.97M on its first weekend of Feb. 21-23 and then $13.1M in its second weekend.
The 1997 edition of Empire contributed another $67.6M overall to Episode V‘s running domestic box office. All of the Star Wars movies, including Rogue One, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the animated Clone Wars through 12 titles have racked up over $10.3 billion at the global box office.
Here in the UK Secret Cinema saw Empire back in the charts a few years back, and with the film showing on drive-in screens here it will be interesting to see if Empire can do the same in the UK.