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'Identity Thief' Back On Top Of Box Office As New Releases Struggle

'Identity Thief' Back On Top Of Box Office As New Releases Struggle

Closing out a February that saw a big drop from 2012 totals, smash hit R-rated comedy "Identity Thief" racked up $14 million and ended up back at the top of the box office charts, with newcomer "Snitch" coming in second with a studio estimated $13 million. "Dark Skies" also got launched over the weekend, though the low-budget horror film saw a meager opening of $8.85 million despite a release of more than 2,300 total theaters. With Oscar buzz sweltering, it also turned out to be yet another good weekend for romantic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook," as the widely acclaimed romantic comedy cruised past the $100 million domestic mark thanks to its seventh straight weekend in the top 10.

Without any new genre competition over the last couple of weekends, "Identity Thief" has put together a very lucrative stretch at the box office, earning another $14 million this weekend and pushing its 17-day domestic total to a strong $93 million. "Identity Thief" is now a lock to shoot well past the $100 million domestic mark by the end of next weekend, making it the third straight major commercial success for director Seth Gordon ("Horrible Bosses," "Four Christmases"). Thanks to a lack of competition until "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" hits theaters in mid-March, "Identity Thief" should continue to resonate with comedy-seekers over the next month, helping ensure that it's one of the most lucrative R-rated comedies of the year.

While "Identity Thief" continued its success, many action fans turned to thriller "Snitch," which put up a steady $13 million over the weekend as it competed for audiences with "A Good Day to Die Hard." "Snitch" was the only movie in the top 10 to earn at least $5,000 per site, though it will probably have a hard time finding its target audience in the coming weeks thanks to a steady stream of genre competition. Even with a relatively decent opening, look for "Snitch" to fade fairly quickly and be out of the top 10 after just a few weekends.

Also likely to have a fairly brief run in theaters is horror-thriller "Dark Skies," which made just $8.85 million over the weekend at 2,313 total theaters. But even though the opening numbers were less than eye-opening, "Dark Skies" also comes with a slender price tag of just $3.5 million, making it one of the least expensive wide releases so far this year. "Dark Skies" will likely land one more time in the top 10, though it could drop quickly and be a non-factor as releases like "Phantom" and "The Last Exorcism Part II" target similar audiences in the coming weeks.

While the new releases posted moderate opening totals, "Silver Linings Playbook" maintained its sway with adult audiences leading up to Sunday's Academy Awards. "Silver Linings Playbook" earned another $6 million to push its domestic total to $107 million - a very impressive number for a $21 million production relying solely on reputation and word-of-mouth. With co-star Jennifer Lawrence snagging Oscar gold for Best Actress and its overall momentum, "Silver Linings Playbook" should continue to have box office success for a couple more weeks before finally falling out of the top 10.

Not doing nearly as well with domestic audiences has been "A Good Day to Die Hard," which tumbled nearly 60% from its disappointing opening a week ago. The latest "Die Hard" managed only $10 million in second weekend revenue, pushing its 11-day domestic total to just $51 million. Considering that the last installment, "Live Free or Die Hard," racked up $84 million by the end of its second weekend in 2007, it's clear that domestic audiences have thinned out for the famed action franchise, though steady foreign numbers should still ensure that it's a significant commercial success. Even if "A Good Day to Die Hard" doesn't come close to the $383 million worldwide total of its predecessor, it's also already approaching $200 million in total and should remain a factor outside of the U.S. for at least a few more weekends.

Next weekend, Bryan Singer's action-adventure film "Jack the Giant Slayer" leads the way in a month that has several blockbuster hopefuls, which should re-energize the box office. March will also see the release of Sam Raimi's "Oz The Great and Powerful," Fox's animated film "The Croods" and comedy "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell as battling magicians.

Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 2/22/13 - 2/24/13 (in millions), [RTT Prediction]:

1) Identity Thief (Universal): $14 [$14]

2) Snitch (Summit): $13 [$12.5]

3) Escape from Planet Earth (Weinstein): $11.01 [$9]

4) Safe Haven (Relativity): $10.60 [$11.4]

5) A Good Day to Die Hard (Fox): $10 [$12]

6) Dark Skies (Weinstein): $8.85 [$8.5]

7) Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein): $6.05 [$4.3]

8) Warm Bodies (Summit): $4.75 [$5.2]

9) Side Effects (Open Road): $3.51 [$3.4]

10) Beautiful Creatures (Warner Brothers): $3.41 [$3.7]

by RTT Staff Writer

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