Top 5(Estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)1. Identity Thief ($36.5 million)2. Warm Bodies ($11.5 million)3. Side Effects ($10 million)4. Silver Linings Playbook ($6.9 million)5. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ($5.7 million)Identity Thief, undeterred by middling reviews and a serious snowstorm in the Northeast, dominated the box office this weekend with an estimated $36.5 million. This is good news for everyone involved. That's the biggest opening for a live-action comedy since Ted (and the biggest without an animated bear since 21 Jump Street). It's also made back its budget already. That gross also shows just how much people wanted to see it. Were it not for Winter Storm Nemo making shut-ins of many moviegoers, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman road trip could have made nearly $50 million. But its success will be short-lived as next week it goes against one of the most crowded weekends in years, facing off against a Nicholas Sparks valentine, a new Die Hard movie and another film jockeying to be the new Twilight. Because we all know we need more of all three.
Side Effects opened in third place with around $10 million. While that's not terrific for Steven Soderbergh's swan song, it's likely one with some legs as word-of-mouth (or hits on MrSkin.com) will carry this brainy erotic thriller. Channing Tatum was a non-factor in the performance of this one as he's only onscreen briefly, but still gets in shirtless time.
Finally, Silver Linings Playbook has hung on mightily. With a small drop of just 11% the film added another $6.7 million to its already impressive run, crossing the $90 million bar in the process and becoming the crossover hit it deserves to be. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for an Oscar sweep. Outside the top 5:"¢ The Gatekeepers continued to have the best per-screen average, pulling an estimated $14,000 at three locations. But it still won't be a big documentary hit unless it wins the Oscar."¢ Argo continues to ride its award season moment, making its way back in to the top 10 by earning another $2.5 million and inching it closer to $125 million. That's far better than I ever imagined. Way to go, Affleck. "¢ And way down at the bottom was Roman Coppola's Charlie Sheen vehicle A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, which failed miserably, even though Coppola's an Oscar nominee this year and Sheen has one of the biggest comedies on cable. I guess art direction isn't everything. Next week: It's an all-out bloodbath as Bruce Willis returns to Die Hard, Julianne Hough stars in a Nicholas Sparks movie that looks like all the other Nicholas Sparks movies in Safe Haven, and two unknowns try to become the next Edward and Bella in Beautiful Creatures. I'm predicting A Good Day to Die Hard takes No. 1 with $50 million, with Safe Haven finishing with $35 and Beautiful Creatures managing only $30 million.