Identity Thief (CinemaScore: B) fared even better than expected, bringing in $36.6 million over the weekend across 3,141 theaters. For comparison, Melissa McCarthy’s last major film Bridesmaids (though it was in a supporting role) opened at $26.2 million, in 2,918 theaters. With an opening like this, big things are surely expected from Seth Gordon’s R-rated comedy which has already surpassed its $35 million production budget. Though Bateman and Gordon had a successful run with Horrible Bosses after a $28.3 million opening weekend in July 2011, Bateman hasn’t had this kind of luck with most of his starring roles. Universal’s The Change-Up (with Ryan Reynolds) opened at $13.5 million in August 2011 and went on to gross only $37.1 million domestically, on a $52 million production budget.
Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies took second place for its second weekend with $11.5 million, bringing its domestic total to $36.7 million. This breaks Levine’s record, beating the lifetime domestic gross of his last feature, the cancer dramedy 50/50 with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which brought in $35 million.
The R-rated Hitchcock-style, prescription-drug thriller Side Effects (CinemaScore: B) ended up beating director Steven Soderbergh’s January 2012 weekend opening of Haywire, earning $10 million weekend this weekend and averaging $3,845 per theater. We talked a little bit about stars Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum’s box office history yesterday. Another star of Side Effects is Jude Law, and he’s got a varied track record at the box office. He generally participates in ensemble casts — Anna Karenina, the Sherlock Holmes franchise, Soderbergh’s Contagion, The Holiday — making his singular box office appeal somewhat more elusive. Side Effects has Soderbergh’s name and another strong ensemble, and could go on to a respectable run, even though it won’t reach Contagion heights (the epidemic thriller eventually grossed $76 million).