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'Identity Thief' leads weekend box office, again

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in a scene from the 2013 film, 'Identity Thief.' (Courtesy Universal Pictures)

February 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Melissa McCarthy's 'Identity Thief' returned to the top spot in its third week of release.

The comedy earned $14.1 million on the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. 'Identity Thief' regained the box-office title after losing it last week to "A Good Day to Die Hard." The Bruce Willis action sequel faded domestically.

With a cumulative total of $93.7 million, "Identity Thief" is the biggest hit so far in 2013. Though the film has been badly reviewed by critics, the road trip duo of McCarthy and Jason Bateman has proved popular at the multiplexes, where no other comedy has been around to challenge it.

"Identity Thief" has proven the stardom of McCarthy following her breakout performance in "Bridesmaids."

With the industry gathered for Oscar Sunday, it's always a weekend where moviegoers' attention goes more to the Academy Awards than the movie theater. For the fifth week in a row, the box office was down as compared to last year's business.

The down weekend was unlikely to dampen the Oscar celebration. The nine best picture nominees have largely fared well at the box office. This weekend, eight of them are in the top 21 films.

For the first time since the category's number of nominees was extended in 2009, six of the nominees grossed more than $100 million domestically: "Argo," ''Lincoln," ''Les Miserables," ''Silver Linings Playbook," ''Django Unchained" and "Life of Pi." ''Zero Dark Thirty" missed narrowly with $91.6 million going into the Oscars.

"It's one of the best performing groups of nominees I've ever seen," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "Great night for Hollywood, tough day at the box office."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Identity Thief," $14 million, ($170,000 international).
2. "Snitch," $13 million.
3. "Escape From Planet Earth," $11 million.
4. "Safe Haven," $10.6 million, ($1.4 million international).
5. "A Good Day to Die Hard," $10 million, ($35.7 million international).
6. "Dark Skies," $8.9 million.
7. "Silver Linings Playbook," $6.1 million, ($5 million international).
8. "Warm Bodies," $4.8 million, ($2.5 million international).
9. "Side Effects," $3.6 million.
10. "Beautiful Creatures," $3.4 million, ($4 million international).

The Associated Press contributed tot htis report.

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