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‘Empire Strikes Back’ a big hit

NEW YORK (AP) — When historians look back on the top films at the box office in the summer of 2020, they may feel like they’ve slipped into a time warp, or maybe “Back to the Future.”

Over the second weekend in July, “Empire Strikes Back” — 40 years after it was first released — was again No. 1. “Ghostbusters” claimed the July 4th weekend, 36 years after opening. Over the June 19-21 weekend and 27 years after it last led the box office, “Jurassic Park” again ruled theaters.

In a pandemic that has resurrected all kinds of vintage pastimes, from puzzles to drive-ins, even the blockbusters are retro. That is much out of necessity. About 1,000 theaters in the U.S. are currently open, just about a sixth of the nation’s cinemas. That includes about 300 drive-ins that have hosted the majority of moviegoing.

With all major new releases postponed until at least Labor Day weekend, summer moviegoing has again belonged to the classics — the kinds of films that, for many, remain as indelibly linked to the season as E.T. is to Elliott.

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