Despite Friday's marketplace being slowed on the East Coast by Winter Storm Nemo, Universal's Identity Thief was still able to exceed expectations this weekend with a first place estimated debut of $36.6 million. The R-rated comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy proved to be critic proof this weekend, as it registered the 13th largest February debut of all time without adjusting for ticket price inflation. Compared to previous February comedies that launched the frame before Presidents Day Weekend, Identity Thief opened 5 percent stronger than the $34.19 million start of 2007's Norbit and 20 percent stronger than the $30.51 million start of 2011's Just Go with It (both of which were rated PG-13). Identity Thief also opened stronger than the $28.30 million debut of 2011's Horrible Bosses (which featured Bateman) and the $26.25 million debut of 2011's Bridesmaids (which featured McCarthy). There is no doubt that the paring of McCarthy and Bateman was the key to the film's opening weekend success.
The opening weekend audience for Identity Thief skewed towards female moviegoers (58 percent) and towards older moviegoers (57 percent of the film's audience was 30 and older). Identity Thief received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore and registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.27 to 1. While that ratio was inflated a bit from Friday's snow storm deflated grosses, it is a good sign for the film going forward nonetheless.
Warm Bodies held up relatively well for its genre this weekend. Lionsgate's PG-13 zombie comedy fell a respectable 43 percent in its second weekend to claim second with an estimated $11.5 million. Horror themed films aimed at teenage audiences on Super Bowl weekend are typically quite front-loaded, but Warm Bodies looks like it will be an exception thanks to good word of mouth and the continued limited amount of PG-13 rated fare in the marketplace. Warm Bodies has grossed $36.63 million in ten days, which places it 4 percent ahead of the $35.26 million ten-day take of last year's The Woman in Black (which fell 52 percent in its second weekend) and 23 percent behind the $47.60 million ten-day take of 2009's Zombieland (which fell 40 percent in its second weekend).
Open Road's Side Effects debuted in third with an estimated $10.0 million. The Steven Soderbergh directed thriller opened on the low end of pre-release expectations. Despite strong reviews and an ensemble cast that includes Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum in a supporting role, Side Effects simply couldn't compete with Identity Thief this weekend. In comparison to recent Soderbergh directed films, Side Effects performed much more line with the $8.43 million start of last year's Haywire than it did with the $22.40 million debut of 2011's Contagion. One bright spot for Side Effects this weekend was that the film increased 47 percent on Saturday over Friday, which helped it generate a strong opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.56 to 1. As is the case with Identity Thief, the early holding power for Side Effects is also a good sign going forward even after factoring in Friday's deflated gross. Side Effects received a B rating on CinemaScore.
The Weinstein Company's Silver Linings Playbook continued to display tremendous holding power, as it fell just 11 percent to place in fourth with an estimated $6.9 million. The Best Picture nominee has grossed $90.0 million to date, meaning it is on the verge of surpassing the $93.62 million total domestic gross of 2010's The Fighter.
Estimated weekend performances for other Best Picture nominees still in major release included $4.0 million for Zero Dark Thirty (down 23 percent), $2.5 million for Argo (up 23 percent after expanding into an additional 470 locations), $2.29 million for Django Unchained (down 24 percent), $1.86 million for Lincoln (down 23 percent), $1.73 million for Life of Pi (down 8 percent) and $1.56 million for Les Misérables (down 36 percent). Respective total grosses to date stand at $173.61 million for Lincoln, $154.50 million for Django Unchained, $143.98 million for Les Misérables, $123.73 million for Argo, $108.51 million for Life of Pi and at $83.56 million for Zero Dark Thirty.
In limited release, fellow Best Picture nominee Amour grossed an estimated $380,721 from 125 locations this weekend. The Sony Pictures Classics release has grossed $3.02 million to date domestically.
Also in limited release, Paramount's Top Gun 3D grossed an estimated $1.9 million to place in eleventh among all films this weekend. The IMAX re-issue of the 1986 blockbuster slightly outpaced Paramount's recent IMAX re-issue of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which debuted with $1.67 million from 267 locations this past September.