Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is top of the box office again after 23 years

People are keen to escape to a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Frank Oz as Yoda (Sky)

Classic sci-fi blockbuster The Empire Strikes Back ruled the US box office over the weekend, taking the top spot for the first time in more than two decades.

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The beloved entry in the Star Wars saga, which sees Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) train as a Jedi and discover his true heritage, is one of several retro films to return to cinemas in lieu of any new releases.

Empire reached number one with a modest haul around $500,000, according to Deadline, as most cinemas across the United States remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a far cry from the kind of numbers the country is used to reporting, as the same weekend last year saw Spider-Man: Far From Home top the charts with $45 million in its second weekend of release.

The Empire Strikes Back has reached number one on two occasions in the past, the first being its initial release in May 1980, when it reigned supreme for an impressive eight weeks.

The movie returned to number one in February 1997, when George Lucas’ divisive “special edition” made its way to cinemas, opening with just under $22 million in ticket sales and retaining pole position the following weekend.

Other popular re-releases in the States have been Marvel’s Black Panther and Pixar’s Inside Out, while the UK has seen similar domination from Disney brands as Onward hit number one on the first weekend since cinemas reopened.

Chris Pratt and Tom Holland lend their voices to the family adventure, which first released worldwide just as coronavirus was escalating into a global health crisis.

Films from earlier this year, as well as old favourites from decades ago, will be the driving force behind cinema business over the next few weeks, as brand new blockbusters like Tenet and Mulan continue to be pushed back.

Both are currently scheduled for release in August but it is uncertain whether this will go ahead as planned, given the precarious position many nations still find themselves in.

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The Star Wars Saga is available to stream on Disney Plus – you can watch it by signing up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year. If you’re looking for something to watch, check out our TV Guide