Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman star in "Identity Thief." (Universal Pictures )
"Identity Thief" has stolen back the top spot at the weekend box office, taking in an estimated $14.1 million to trump new releases "Snitch" and "Dark Skies," according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures.
Co-financed by Universal and Elliot Inc., "Identity Thief" had been No. 1 when it debuted back on Feb. 8. This weekend, the movie, made for about $35 million, also bested 20th Century Fox's "A Good Day to Die Hard," which had held the top perch the previous weekend but slipped to No. 5. That film is projected to take in $10 million this round, down 60% from last weekend.
"Identity Thief" was down 41% from last weekend. The movie, which co-stars Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, is a buddy comedy about a mild-mannered man who gets his identity stolen by a woman and tries to track her down. It earned a "B" from CinemaScore. The film has now grossed $93.7 million in the U.S. and is a safe bet to cross the $100-million mark domestically.
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With much of Hollywood gearing up for Sunday night's Oscar race, overall it was a slow movie-going weekend. In total, there was an estimated $105 million in ticket sales, down 21.5% from the same weekend last year, when all releases collected $133.7 million, according to Hollywood.com.
Summit Entertainment's "Snitch," an action film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, finished second behind "Identity Thief," with $13 million, according to an estimate from the distributor. Summit, a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment, paid about $2.5 million for the U.S. distribution rights to the film, which received a "B" CinemaScore rating.
[For the Record, 10:51 a.m. Feb. 24: An earlier version of this post stated that Summit Entertainment paid about $5 million for the U.S. distribution rights to "Snitch." It paid about $2.5 million.]
Debuting on 2,511 screens, the movie performed better than the $12 million that pre-release audience surveys had pegged it to open with over the weekend. Johnson stars as a father who goes to work as an undercover informant for the government in an effort to save his son from jail time.
The thriller "Dark Skies" opened with an estimated $8.85 million, finishing in sixth place. The Weinstein Co. release, produced by Jason Blum, stars Keri Russell and centers on a couple who must protect their children from aliens. The picture, which received a "C+" CinemaScore, unfurled on 2,313 screens. It was not shown to critics in advance of its opening, which is typically a sign that the distributor fears that a film will not receive favorable reviews.