ox office gurus who had enthusiastically predicted that Universal's Identity Thief would become the top film over the weekend with $20 million were surprised by final results showing that it actually earned $34.6 million -- 73 percent more than they had forecast. That result came to pass despite a winter blizzard that closed many theaters in the Northeast on Friday and Saturday. (The movie, in fact, earned $14.8 million on Saturday alone.) Universal maintained that had it not been for the storm, the film would have grossed nearly $40 million. Indeed, on the same weekend one year ago, the box office scored a bonanza, with two films opening with more than $40 million (Sony's The Vow and Universal's Safe House) and the 3-D Journey 2: The Mysterious Island scoring $27 million. In fact, despite the solid showing of Identity Thief, the overall box office was down a whopping 50 percent from the same weekend a year ago. Week 2 of Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment's Warm Bodies was the only other film that earned more than $10 million, dropping 44 percent from its opening a week ago to $11.4 million, but Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects got off to a queasy start with $9.3 million to place third. And everything else looked unimpressive. The Weinstein Co.'s Silver Linings Playbook, released 13 weeks ago, managed to wind up in fourth place with just $6.4 million. The poor showing compared with last year's pushed box-office revenue and attendance lower for the year-to-date. According to box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian at Hollywood.com, revenue for the year is down 1.20 percent from a year ago, while attendance is down 2.31 percent.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Identity Thief, Universal, $34,551,025, (New); 2. Warm Bodies, Lionsgate/Summit, $11,356,090, 2 Wks. ($36,481,172); 3. Side Effects, Open Road Films , $9,303,145, (New); 4. Silver Linings Playbook, The Weinstein Co. $6,425,271, 13 Wks. ($89,519,510); 5. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Paramount, $5,753,165, 3 Wks. ($43,836,018); 6. Mama, Universal, $4,229,665, 4 Wks. ($63,951,810); 7. Zero Dark Thirty, Sony, $4,006,860, 8 Wks. ($83,567,450); 8. Argo, Warner Bros., $2,375,344, 18 Wks. ($123,608,957); 9. Django Unchained, The Weinstein Co. $2,303,495, 7 Wks. ($154,516,627); 10. Bullet to the Head, Warner Bros., $2,078,192, 2 Wks. ($8,269,214).