"Finding Nemo" may have been dominating social media this week thanks to the superstorm of the same name that ravaged the East Coast, but at the box office it was "Identity Thief" doing most of the damage as the comedy starring Melissa Mc Carthy and Jason Bateman earned an estimated $36.6 million over its opening weekend.
That was significantly above industry projections (McCarthy's mega-hit "Bridesmaids," by comparison, only clocked in with $26.2 million in its opening weekend back in 2011), especially given the fact that some of the biggest markets in the country, including New York City and Boston, were virtual cinematic ghost towns due to widespread power outages and travel bans caused by the blizzard.
Still, "Identity Thief" managed to come through the storm unscathed thanks in large part to strong support in the blizzard-free heartland of America, where the film did extremely well despite mediocre reviews at best.
The same could not be said for the rest of the box office, though, as the overall figures were down more than 40% compared to last year's box office totals. "Side Effects," for example, managed only $10 million in its debut frame despite a huge marketing push as well as decent reviews and the presence of Channing Tatum.
As a result of the lack of any strong new releases other than "Identity Thief," several long-running award season favorites continued to make hay, including "Silver Linings Playbook," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo," which snuck back into the top ten thanks to Oscar buzz.
Here's a look at the full box office top ten, courtesy of Hollywood.com:
1. "Identity Thief" - $36.6m (our review)
2. "Warm Bodies" - $11.5m (our review)
3. "Side Effects" - $10m (our review)
4. "Silver Linings Playbook" - $6.9m (our review)
5. "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" - $5.8m
6. "Mama" - $4.3m (our review)
7. "Zero Dark Thirty" - $4m (our review)
8. "Argo" - $2.5m (our review)
9.. "Django Unchained" - $2.3m (our review)
10. "Bullet to the Head" - $2m (our review)