Box Office Report: "Identity Thief" Cons Movie-Goers, Takes Top Spot

Who knew it would take the poorly reviewed comedy "Identity Thief" to boost the weekend numbers 30% from last weekend, and score the best opening in theaters so far this year? In spite of Hurricane Nemo ravaging most of the Northeast, the film still managed to exceed expectations. Meanwhile, Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects" - the only other wide release - fell just short of where I hoped it would. It still performed respectably, but last weekend's "Warm Bodies" was able to best it.

Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were in the top fifteen, with only "Amour" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" left behind.

Check out the full weekend charts after the break!

"Identity Thief" opened this weekend and managed $36.5MM. This is way up from what we've been seeing out of the top spot in recent weeks, and I'm slightly surprised this was the film to surpass previous numbers. I haven't yet seen the film, but reviews confirmed everything I expected. That being said, young audiences love R-rated comedies, and if they already saw "Warm Bodies" last weekend, then there weren't many other options for them this week.

The film had a budget of $35MM, so this total already clears that number. I'm unsure of any international release plans, or how well this would even play overseas, but if nothing else, the film will easily double its money here in the States, probably doing much better than that. The film scored the 13th-highest opening ever for the month of February; Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" tops the list with $83MM. Also worth noting, the film tops Box Office Mojo's list of Con Artist Films. It surely won't wind up at the top when all is said and done, but it did record the best ever opening, besting Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" by $6MM.

In second place was last weekend's "Warm Bodies". The film recorded $11.5MM, dropping 43.5% from last weekend. This drop was a bit higher than I expected but still in the same area; less than 50% should probably be considered a win. The film has now made just over $36MM domestically, $8.7MM internationally ($45MM total), and has garnered very respectable reviews. The film is up to #13 on the Zombie Movies list, and should be in the Top 10 by next weekend.

"Side Effects" landed in the number three spot with a $10MM opening. This is presumably Steven Soderbergh's last theater film, but it doesn't seem like audiences noticed or cared very much. The film has received positive reviews so far, currently sitting at an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I actually went and checked this film out this weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll have more to say on this week's CinemaCast, but overall I found it to be a very solid thriller with a few twists and turns that I didn't see coming. While this one probably isn't ever going to do anything of note at the box office, I'd definitely recommend this film to others; it's an enjoyable weekend venture.

"Silver Linings Playbook" continued its strong run, tacking on another $6.9MM this weekend, now up to just over $90MM total. The film has also managed nearly $30MM internationally, making for a worldwide gross of $120MM. The film now has only $3MM to go to surpass "The Fighter" and become David O. Russell's highest grossing film of all-time.

Rounding out the top five was "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters", which we're still talking about... The film manged another $5.7MM this weekend, bringing its lifetime totals up to $43MM domestically and $84MM internationally, for a worldwide total of $127MM. The film is now number five on the Witch Movies list, surpassing "Hocus Pocus" with its earnings this weekend. It doesn't figure to ever reach "The Blair Witch Project" ($140MM), but it could manage the number two spot if it continues at this pace.

Outside of the top five, as mentioned above, Academy Award nominated films really clogged up the rest of the chart, with seven Best Picture nominees represented. It's nice to see good movies making money. Between some of the those films, however, "Bullet to the Head", in its second weekend, stood out with its measly $1.9MM. The film has now made only $8MM in total gross, and managed only eight hundred bucks per theater this weekend, by far the lowest average of any film in the Top 10. "Top Gun", in 2,100 less theaters, earned about the same amount.

That's about all that stands out to me though; check out the full numbers below, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: