LOS ANGELES Identity Thief has stolen back the top spot at the weekend box office, taking in an estimated $14 million to trump new releases Snitch and Dark Skies, according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures.
Co-financed by Universal and Elliot Inc., Identity Thief had been No. 1 when it debuted Feb. 8. The movie, made for about $35 million, also bested 20th Century Fox’s A Good Day to Die Hard, which had held the top perch the previous weekend but slipped to No. 5.
Identity Thief was down 41 percent from the previous weekend. The movie, which co-stars Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, is a buddy comedy about a mild-mannered man who gets his identity stolen by a woman and tries to track her down. It earned a B from CinemaScore. The film has now grossed $93.6 million in the United States and is a safe bet to cross the $100-million mark domestically.
While much of Hollywood was gearing up for Sunday night’s Oscar race, overall it was a slow movie-going weekend. In total, there was an estimated $105 million in ticket sales, down 21.5 percent from the same weekend last year, when all releases collected $133.7 million, according to Hollywood.com.
The nine best picture nominees have largely fared well at the box office. Last weekend, seven of them were in the top 20 films.
For the first time since the category’s number of nominees was extended in 2009, six of the nominees grossed more than $100 million domestically: Argo, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained and Life of Pi. Zero Dark Thirty missed narrowly with $91.5 million going into the Oscars.
“It’s one of the best performing groups of nominees I’ve ever seen,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “Great night for Hollywood, tough day at the box office.”
A box-office bump could follow for Oscar’s big winners, though any benefit might be better found overseas, where some of the films are still expanding. The best picture winner, Ben Affleck’s Iran rescue thriller Argo, is already out on DVD in North America.
Summit Entertainment’s Snitch, an action film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, finished second behind Identity Thief, with about $13 million, according to an estimate from the distributor. Summit, a subsidiary of Lionsgate Entertainment, paid about $2.5 million for the U.S. distribution rights to the film, which received a B CinemaScore rating.
Debuting on 2,511 screens, the movie performed better than the $12 million that pre-release audience surveys had pegged it to open with over the weekend. Johnson stars as a father who goes to work as an undercover informant for the government in an effort to save his son from jail time.
The thriller Dark Skies opened with an estimated $8.2 million, finishing in sixth place. The Weinstein Co. release, produced by Jason Blum, stars Keri Russell and centers on a couple who must protect their children from aliens. The picture, which received a C+ CinemaScore, unfurled on 2,313 screens. It was not shown to critics in advance of its opening, which is typically a sign that the distributor fears that a film will not receive favorable reviews.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Hollywood.com are:
Identity Thief, Universal, $14,017,085, 3,222 locations, $4,350 average, $93,619,615, three weeks.
Snitch, Lionsgate, $13,167,607, 2,511 locations, $5,244 average, $13,167,607, one week.
Escape From Planet Earth, Weinstein Co., $10,682,037, 3,353 locations, $3,186 average, $34,812,699, two weeks.
Safe Haven, Relativity Media, $10,454,713, 3,223 locations, $3,244 average, $47,916,356, two weeks.
A Good Day to Die Hard, 20th Century Fox, $10,165,633, 3,555 locations, $2,860 average, $51,967,897, two weeks.
Dark Skies, Weinstein Co., $8,189,166, 2,313 locations, $3,540 average, $8,189,166, one week.
Silver Linings Playbook, Weinstein Co., $5,750,866, 2,012 locations, $2,858 average, $107,176,012, 15 weeks.
Warm Bodies, Lionsgate, $4,825,388, 2,644 locations, $1,825 average, $58,243,441, four weeks.
Beautiful Creatures, Warner Bros., $3,608,333, 2,950 locations, $1,223 average, $16,570,598, two weeks.
Side Effects, Open Road Films, $3,357,039, 2,070 locations, $1,622 average, $25,099,555, three weeks.
Zero Dark Thirty, Columbia, $2,230,084, 1,197 locations, $1,863 average, $91,539,075, 10 weeks.
Argo, Warner Bros., $1,827,165, 802 locations, $2,278 average, $129,653,502, 20 weeks.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Paramount, $1,684,532, 1,425 locations, $1,182 average, $52,945,086, five weeks.
Life of Pi, 20th Century Fox, $1,605,366, 572 locations, $2,807 average, $113,525,126, 14 weeks.
Lincoln, Disney, $1,481,081, 875 locations, $1,693 average, $178,603,571, 16 weeks.
Mama, Universal, $1,173,900, 1,163 locations, $1,009 average, $70,230,570, six weeks.
Quartet, Weinstein Co., $1,125,886, 356 locations, $3,163 average, $8,844,950, seven weeks.
Django Unchained, Weinstein Co., $971,655, 659 locations, $1,474 average, $158,783,430, nine weeks.
Amour, Columbia Pictures Classics, $716,186, 328 locations, $2,183 average, $5,147,242, 10 weeks.
Wreck-It Ralph, Disney, $645,870, 402 locations, $1,607 average, $186,676,411, 17 weeks.
MovieStyle, Pages 36 on 03/01/2013
Print Headline: Identity Thief retakes top spot