Idenity Thief #1 At Box Office
"Hippo" Melissa McCarthy Gets Last Laugh
Blizzard Nemo couldn't keep Whirlwind Melissa down as Melissa McCarthy's R-rated comedy Identity Thief packed its own punch at theaters this weekend, coasting to the top spot with her latest film.
Complete list of 2013 movies in theaters - click here.
Called a "hippo" by nasty queen 'movie critic' Rex Reed, who has been plaguing movie reviews since the 1960s, two-tons of fun Melissa McCarthy had the last laugh at the movie box office.
Despite a snowstorm that shuttered dozens of theaters along the East Coast, Melissa McCarthy's Identity was an easy winner at the multiplex, coasting to No. 1 with $36.6 million, becoming the movie to earn the most money during opening weekend during 2013 thus far.
The debut was more than twice movie studio projections, which were lowered in expectation of the snowstorm that left multi-foot-high drifts along the Eastern seaboard.
Yet there was no slipping for the hottest comic actress in Hollywood, whose raunchy antics propelled 2011's Bridesmaids to $169 million, one of the comedy surprises of the year.
Identity Thief's debut, particularly in the face of the inclement weather, not only cements Melissa McCarthy as the most bankable actress in Hollywood, but she has become an emblem of the hottest demographic in moviegoing: "older" women.
Mature females (studios consider anything over 30 an older woman) are driving films to surprising success. In addition to Bridesmaids and Identity Thief, mature female moviegoers have made hits out of female-heavy films last year, including Les Misrables ($143 million so far), The Vow ($125 million) and Magic Mike ($114 million).
But Identity Thief stands out because it rests squarely on Melissa McCarthy's shoulders.
And they're liking what they're catching. While critics excoriated the road trip comedy with Jason Bateman — only 24% gave it a thumbs-up — a solid 74% of movieogers liked it, a good prospect for a run through the laconic winter months.
Identity thief's performance comes as a surprise given Nemo's swath, which prompted several theater chains, including AMC and Regal, to shutter theaters in anticipation of the storm and for analysts to drop their expectations by millions.
But the movie made up financial ground in less affected areas, including the South and West.
Weather wasn't as kind to Steven Soderbergh's thriller Side Effects, which took third place with $10 million. Despite strong reviews — about 85% of critics liked it, Rottentomatoes says — the debut met the lower end of of projections. Though a healthy dose of critics liked it, a so-so 70% of moviegoers found it effective, the amalgam site says.
We are not sure how critics found Side Effects collectively acceptable, as it is one of the worst movies directed by an Oscar winning director to come down the pike - ever.
The zombie comedy Warm Bodies was second with $11.5 million.
The Oscar hopeful Silver Linings Playbook took fourth with $6.9 million, bringing its total to a healthy $90 million and putting it within range of becoming the sixth movie nominated for a best-picture Oscar to eclipse $100 million before the Feb. 24 ceremony.
The other nominated films, many of which are still in theaters and continue to add to their grosses, are: Lincoln ($172 million), Django Unchained ($153 million), Les Miserables ($143 million), Argo ($122 million) and Life of Pi ($107 million).
Rank, Title, Weekend Gross, Total Gross
1 Identity Thief $36,593,000
2 Warm Bodies $11,500,000 - $36,652,000
3 Side Effects $10,015,000
4 Silver Linings Playbook $6,908,000 - $90,002,000
5 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $5,750,000 - $43,833,000
6 Mama $4,323,000 - $64,046,000
7 Zero Dark Thirty $4,000,000 - $83,600,000
8 Argo $2,500,000 - $123,734,000
9 Django Unchained $2,288,000 - $154,501,000
10 Bullet to the Head $1,980,000 - $8,171,000
11 Top Gun 3D $1,900,000 - $1,900,000
12 Lincoln $1,860,000 - $173,607,000
13 Parker $1,761,000 - $15,742,000
14 Life of Pi $1,725,000 - $108,510,000
15 Les Miserables $1,556,000 - $143,984,000