Empire Strikes Back tops box office chart as more cinemas reopen

Ian Jones, PA

A 40-year-old Star Wars film has topped the box office chart in the UK, as cinemas continue to resort to old favourites to woo back customers.

The Empire Strikes Back was the most popular release during the second weekend that screens were reopen in England after lockdown.

Other old favourites in the top 10 included Dirty Dancing, Grease, The Shawshank Redemption and Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone.

But the gross takings for each film reveal just how few screenings are still available.

(PA graphic)

Dirty Dancing, at number five in the top 10, grossed £15,134 from 25 cinemas.

Grease, in seventh place, was screened at just 18 locations and took £14,416.

The most popular new release was the Australian crocodile horror film Black Water: Abyss, which made third place with £28,053 from 79 cinemas.

The Empire Strikes Back, which has been re-released by Disney to mark the film’s 40th anniversary, took £50,406 from 101 cinemas.

The figures, published by the British Film Institute, cover those cinemas that have reopened in England, together with a few cinemas in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Box office takings in Ireland are traditionally included with figures for the UK.

The total amount grossed by the top 10 films for the period July 10 to 12 was £215,108.

This is up from £130,433 taken by the top 10 films for July 3 to 5 – but is far below the £13.2 million grossed by the top 10 films for the equivalent period in July 2019.

Many cinema chains are waiting until later in July or even early August for a full reopening, to coincide with the release of films such as Christopher Nolan’s new blockbuster Tenet.

Meanwhile, cinemas in Scotland have just reopened, and cinemas in Wales are due to reopen from July 27.

Here is the full box office top 10 for July 10 to 12:

1 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back £50,406 (101 cinemas)
2 Onward £35,086 (95 cinemas)
3 Black Water: Abyss £28,053 (79 cinemas)
4 Trolls World Tour £19,996 (70 cinemas)
5 Dirty Dancing £15,134 (25 cinemas)
6 Knives Out £14,747 (5 cinemas)
7 Grease £14,416 (18 cinemas)
8 The Shawshank Redemption £13,231 (18 cinemas)
9 Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone £12,358 (30 cinemas)
10 The Greatest Showman £11,681 (57 cinemas)