'Identity Thief' swipes No. 1 spot at box office


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LOS ANGELES -- "Identity Thief" has turned out to be the real thing at the box office.

The comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy debuted at No. 1 with a $36.6 million opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Identity Thief" opened solidly despite the winter storm that buried much of the Northeast.

Distributor Universal Pictures estimates the storm might have choked off as much as 10 percent of the movie's business.

The previous weekend's top movie, the zombie romance "Warm Bodies" fell to No. 2 with $11.5. That raises its domestic total to $36.7.

The weekend's other new wide release, Steven Soderbergh's thriller "Side Effects" had a modest opening of $10 million, coming in at No. 3.

Tom Cruise's 1986 hit "Top Gun" took flight again in theaters with a 3-D reissue that pulled in $1.9 million in narrow release of 300 theaters. The movie has a short run on the big-screen leading up to its Feb. 19 3-D release on DVD and Blu-ray.

"Identity Thief" came in above industry expectations despite the storm and poor reviews for the comedy, which stars Mr. Bateman as a man chasing down a con artist (Ms. McCarthy) who has racked up thousands of dollars of charges in his name.

Estimated ticket sales (in millions of dollars) for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com.

1. "Identity Thief" $36.6

2. "Warm Bodies" $11.5.

3. "Side Effects" $10.0.

4. "Silver Linings Playbook" $6.9.

5. "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" $5.8 million

6. "Mama" $4.3 million

7. "Zero Dark Thirty" $4.0.

8. "Argo" $2.5.

9. "Django Unchained" $2.3.

10. "Bullet to the Head" $2.0.

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