The Empire Strikes Back tops box office-no this isn’t a 1980 headline

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It’s been a while since our last Weekend Box Office update, but we had to strike back with this one. Get it? “Strike back”? Okay, if that horrible joke hasn’t made you click out of this story already, here’s what you came for: The Empire Strikes Backtook in an estimated $175,000 across 483 locations on Friday, and is expected to rake in $400,ooo to $500,000 total by the end of the weekend, according to Deadline.

The Empire Strikes Back, celebrated its 40th anniversary in May and is considered by many as one of the best sequels of all time-or at least is considered that by our Popcorn Champs columnist Tom Breihan, who in February:

Before The Empire Strikes Back, the whole idea of the sequel was to essentially retell the story of the first movie, adding extra wrinkles but hitting the same reassuring beats. In Jaws 2, Chief Brody once again goes into maritime battle with a giant killer shark. In Rocky II, Rocky Balboa once again fights Apollo Creed. Neither film is anywhere near as good as its predecessor, but there’s precious little evidence that anyone even tried to make those films as good as their predecessors-though Jaws 2 at least has the fun bit where the shark eats the helicopter. The sequels are simply good enough. They’re victory laps.

The Empire Strikes Back is not a victory lap. Instead, Lucas and his collaborators took the Godfather Part II approach. Empire imagines the larger world around that first Star Wars movie-the circumstances that led to the events of the film, the ripple effects of the climactic battle, the changing relationships of the characters.

Empire‘s dominance follows ‘s successover the July 4 weekend and and ‘ victories the weekend before. and also made this weekend’s box-office list, with drive-ins being the main venue for moviegoers to enjoy anything on a big screen during the coronavirus pandemic as big theater chains like AMC wisely keep pushing back their reopenings.

But it’s not just classics that are bringing out audiences. , which The A.V. Club‘s Katie Rife gave a B+, is also tracking to do well this weekend. Relic follows in the footsteps of fellow horror film , which performed well in May.

Halfway through this hell called 2020, these are the films with the highest domestic box-offices takes of the year so far, according to :
($204.4M)
($157.9M)
($146.1M)
($124.7M)
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker ($124.5M)