After Four Decades, Empire Strikes Back Tops the Weekend Box Office

First released in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back – fully titled Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – has once again reached the top of the weekend box office, reports Deadline. Four decades after its initial release, one of the best movie sequels ever made earned $611,000 over the last weekend. There are currently only about 1500 cinemas opened in the entire US, many of them drive-ins. With all major film studios reluctant to release new titles, audiences mostly re-watched classics new and old.

In the second place of the weekend box office with $367,000 is Black Panther. First released in 2018, this superhero blockbuster is of the highest-grossing movies ever, with a worldwide gross of over $1,3 billion. In the third place with $340,000 is Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out, a 2015 CGI-animated film that grossed over $850 million during its first release. In its second weekend in the US cinemas, horror drama Relic attained fourth place with $236,000. Relic is a sole recent title among the top five highest-grossing movies of the last weekend, proving the resiliency of the low-budget horror films even during these times. And finally, in the fifth place of the last weekend’s box office is Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park with $224,000.

Comic-Con@Home Reveals This Year’s Schedule

One of the most significant annual entertainment events – San Diego Comic-Con – had to be canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. As an alternative, organizers chose to take it online. While far from the real thing, this will allow those who could never visit the event to enjoy it, even if only long-distance.

The official schedule for Comic-Con@Home came out this week. The convention will take place over five days: from Wednesday, July 22 until Sunday, July 26. As previously reported, there will be panels featuring discussions about popular genre shows by FX, Disney+, HBO, AMC, and Hulu. Among other highlights, Charlize Theron will participate in a Q&A session about her rise as an action heroine from Æon Flux to The Old Guard. David S. Goyer (Blade, Suicide Squad) will discuss adapting comic books into movies. Showrunner and executive producer Misha Green will talk about her upcoming HBO horror series Lovecraft Country. There will also be a 15th anniversary Constantine reunion featuring its star Keanu Reeves, director Francis Lawrence, and producer Akiva Goldsman.

The full schedule of Comic-Con@Home is available here.

As California Shuts Down Again, New Jersey Court Denies Request to Reopen Cinemas

Last week, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) filed a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey. Claiming Governor Phil Murphy infringed upon its First Amendment rights, NATO demanded reopening of cinemas, since other public venues like churches and libraries were already open. This week, the federal judge denied their request for a restraining order. Now the plaintiffs are waiting for the state to respond to their request for an injunction. If that fails, the judge has set litigation for the potential injunction either on or before August 4.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the US is still rising. California tried reopening earlier this month with disastrous consequences. On July 14 alone, there have been over 11,000 new cases of the coronavirus in California. These numbers led Governor Gavin Newsom to impose a new statewide shutdown of public venues like restaurants, wineries, zoos, museums, and movie theaters. Requests for COVID-19 testing grew so much, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Gahly had to prioritize them. According to the new guidelines, hospitalized individuals and their contacts will get tested first, followed by people working in healthcare and then by workers in the retail, manufacturing, and food services. This means studios probably won’t be able to test their cast and crews as soon or as quickly as they would have liked.