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Weekend Box Office: Identity Thief Steals the Show

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By Chris Kavan - 02/10/13 at 11:05 PM CT

Despite a massive snow storm cutting down on potential audiences, at least one film managed to break out to become a bright spot for the 2013 movie season. Still, even with a clear winner, compared to the same weekend last year, the box office was down a significant 48% and it will take more than one big hit to right the Hollywood ship.


Although it may not have caught the critic's eye, it turns out that audiences were more than happy to give Melissa McCartney and Jason Bateman a chance at the box office. The R-rated comedy Identity Thief managed to take in $36.6 million over the weekend. It's the best opening for director Seth Gordon, topping both Four Christmases ($31.6 million) and Horrible Bosses ($28.3 million). It also was a great opening for McCartney, who proved she can carry a movie, as it topped the opening for Bridesmaids ($26.2 million) as well. Considering the track record of those previous films, Identity Thief should be able to top $100 million before it runs its course.


To see how the box office has been struggling, second-place Warm Bodies took in $11.5 million and wound up with $36.6 million. It took two weeks for this film to make what Identity Thief did opening weekend. Still, the 43.5% drop was in line with expectations (last year's Chronicle, also opening Super Bowl weekend, dipped 45% in its second weekend). I still don't see the zom-rom-com genre becoming a big name in the future... because I don't care how hard you try - you just can't make zombies sexy.


The week's other new wide release was Steven Soderbergh's apparently final film, Side Effects. With Rooney Mara, Jude Law and Channing Tatum, you would think it had a shot at a bigger opening, but it had to settle for third with $10 million. It was about half of what Soderbergh's Contagion opened with ($22.5 million) but it did open higher than Haywire ($8.4 million). The movie was received with just an average "B" cinemascore and the audience was largely female (83%) and skewed older (85% over 25). Even though the story looks more interesting than anything else out there right now, the somewhat vague marketing effort probably confounded general audiences meaning this isn't going to stick around for too long.


Once again, the Oscar contender had a great hold, dropping just 10.7% from last weekend. The $6.9 million it added upped its total to just over the $90 million mark. It's still on target to pass the $100 million mark before the awards are handed out.

5) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

With a respectable drop of 39% the action/fantasy film rounded out the top five with $5.75 million, raising its total to $43.8 million. It's looking like it will be able to hit its $50 million budget mark before it ends its run, but chances are it won't wind up with too much more than that.

Outside the top five: Top Gun 3D, playing in 300 theaters, took in $1.9 million - landing just outside the top 10 in 11th place. As a comparison, Raiders of the Lost Ark's IMAX re-release took in $1.67 million in 267 theaters.

Argo added 470 theaters back to its total and jumped 23.2% from last week, breaking back into the top 10 with a $2.5 million 8th place finish. The boost brought its total to $123.7 million. This can probably be seen as a last hurrah of sorts, as Argo is going to hit DVD/Blu-Ray on Feb. 19th, which should kind of put a damper on its box office future.

Next week with have four films all looking to target a specific audience: first up, A Good Day to Die Hard looks to reverse the action movie curse that has plagued the 2013 box office; Safe Haven, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, is clearly targeting the Valentine's Day romance crowd; Beautiful Creatures is going after the young adult audience while the animated Escape from Planet Earth is going after the family crowd. Which audience will prevail? Time shall tell.


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