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Identity Thief

Bob Mahoney/Universal Pictures

Identity Thief stole the weekend box office.  

The new Jason Bateman-Melissa McCarthy comedy grossed an estimated $36.6 million.

The three-day take is the biggest of the year so far; it's the fifth-biggest opening ever for a non-sequel R-rated comedy. 

Universal Pictures, the studio behind Identity Thief, projected that the movie could've hit $40 million had it not been for the Northeast blizzard, which hit Friday, shuttered theaters and was blamed for cutting into box-office business across the board. (E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.

Of those who managed to make it to the multiplex, women and the over-30 crowd drove much of Identity Thief's ticket sales. The film was graded a solid B by opening-weekend audiences, a distinct break with critics, who piled on the film, and Rex Reed, who just got mean.

Elsewhere, Warm Bodies ($11.5 million; $36.7 million overall domestically), last weekend's No. 1 film, showed strong legs even as it slipped to second place.

Side Effects, the new Steven Soderbergh thriller with Rooney Mara, was more The Informant! than Magic Mike, debuting with $10 million.

Among Oscar movies, Ben Affleck's Argo ($2.5 million; $123.7 million overall domestically), in theaters since last October, stormed back into the Top 10, and, as on the Best Picture leaderboard, surged past Steven Spielberg's Lincoln ($1.9 million; $173.6 million overall domestically).

Old Tom Cruise, meaning 1980s Tom Cruise, had a very good weekend. The IMAX 3-D re-release of Top Gun ($1.9 million) very nearly cracked the Top 10 on the strength of only 300 theaters.

Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday studio estimates and stats as compiled per Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Identity Thief, $36.6 million
  2. Warm Bodies, $11.5 million
  3. Side Effects, $10 million
  4. Silver Linings Playbook, $6.9 million
  5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, $5.8 million
  6. Mama, $4.3 million 
  7. Zero Dark Thirty, $4 million
  8. Argo, $2.5 million
  9. Django Unchained, $2.3 million
  10. Bullet to the Head, $2 million