Despite industry concerns that a huge winter storm would keep East Coasters away from the box office, "Identity Thief" took in about $10 million more on its opening weekend than pre-release audience polling had suggested. That's the biggest opening of the year thus far, beating Universal's "Mama," the horror film that debuted with $28.4 million in January. Overall, however, ticket sales declined a major 45% compared with the same three-day period last year, when Valentine's Day-related movies opened over the weekend.
In "Identity Thief," Melissa McCarthy stars as a gregarious criminal who steals the credit card information of a man played by Bateman. Though critics loathed the picture -- the
McCarthy seemed to be a driving factor for the film's success. After appearing for years in supporting roles in romantic comedies and the television drama
"She is an absolute favorite of audiences," said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution for Universal, which co-financed the movie for $35 million with Elliot Inc. "She's a huge star, and has become an absolute darling particularly in middle America, where the film did very strong business."