Even with an East Coast blizzard that took an estimated 10% from the overall box office, Identity Thief spectacularly overperformed, coming up with $36.5 million over the weekend. That's a full $10 million over what must have been conservative estimates. Pent-up demand for an attention- getting R-rated comedy helped drive up the weekend total. Though there have been plenty of R-rated actioners, the last R-rated comedy to open over $20 million was Ted, which came out over the summer. The Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman led comedy was a popular date-night choice and also brought in female fans of McCarthy. The fact that couples enjoyed the movie should be a positive sign this Thursday, when many dates opt for a movie to celebrate Valentine's Day.
Director Steven Soderbergh appears to have a hard time winning over both critics and audiences. Last year's spy-action genre offering, Haywire, was a critical success (80% positive on Rotten Tomatoes) that opened to just $8.4 million. Side Effects, an efficient noir, also pleased critics (85% positive) but again failed to bring in audiences. Its $10 million opening still falls within the low range of expectations, but it's disappointing such a good film didn't have a huge audience to go with it.
Silver Linings Playbook continued another week of miniscule drops, dipping just 11% for $6.9 million. At $90 million cumulative total thirteen weeks in, it's just a matter of time before this romantic comedy tops $100 million.
Argo, which released 18 weeks ago, climbed 23% from last week to break into the top ten again with $2.5 million. This is the second weekend in a row it added theatres and upped its weekend haul. Many consider the Ben Affleck-led movie to have unseated Lincoln as the Academy favorite for Best Picture, so this will position the release well should it score at the Oscars in two weeks.
Top Gun 3D averaged $6,300 per screen at 300 locations for a total of $1.9 million. That's a nice chunk of funds. Paramount is releasing a 3D-equipped Blu-ray of Top Gun next week, so the theatrical release gave it an extra publicity boost.
Charlie Sheen-led A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III earned less in a weekend than Sheen can probably spend on one crazy night out. Two locations posted a $6,000 per-screen average, though perhaps the comedy will have better luck once it hits the Netflix crowds.
On Thursday, Valentine's Day, a trio of offerings will hit theatres: Safe Haven, a romance of Nicholas Sparks vintage, A Good Day to Die Hard for action fans, and teen supernatural romance Beautiful Creatures. The animated Escape from Planet Earth will follow on Friday.