‘Identity Thief’ Regains Crown With $14 Million in Sales

The comedy “Identity Thief” reclaimed first place at the U.S. and Canada box office, taking in $14 million for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures in its third weekend in theaters.

“A Good Day to Die Hard,” another film in the Bruce Willis action series, dropped to fifth from first with $10.2 million for News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Identity Thief,” starring Jason Bateman, benefited from weak competition on the weekend of the 85th Academy Awards. In the pre-Oscar period, studios typically avoid releasing major new films. Two new releases, “Snitch” starring Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, and the horror film “Dark Skies,” were second and sixth in sales, respectively. “Identity Thief” has taken in $93.6 million since it opened in first place on Feb. 8, according to Hollywood.com.

“Blame it on the Oscars commanding Hollywood’s attention, but even a star as powerful as The Rock didn’t have the muscles” to bump “Identity Thief” from first, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s box-office unit.

“Escape From Planet Earth,” a 3-D animated feature from Weinstein Co., jumped to third from fourth with $10.7 million, while Relativity Media’s “Safe Haven” fell to fourth from third with $10.5 million.

‘Good Day’

In “Identity Thief,” Bateman plays Sandy Bigelow Patterson, a man whose gender-neutral name enables a woman to assume his identity and wreck his credit. Authorities tell him the only way to resolve the problem is to find the woman and bring her in. Melissa McCarthy co-stars as Bateman’s nemesis. Amanda Peet plays Sandy’s wife.

“A Good Day to Die Hard,” features Willis as the iconoclastic police officer John McClane. The previous four films in the series, started in 1988, generated $1.13 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, another researcher.

In the new film, McClane travels to Russia to rescue his kidnapped son, only to discover the situation more complex and dangerous than he expected. Jai Courtney co-stars as son Jack.

“Snitch,” inspired by true events, features Johnson as a divorced father who agrees to infiltrate a drug cartel to keep his son, wrongly accused of dealing, out of prison. The Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. film, which came in second with $13.2 million, also features Susan Sarandon and Barry Pepper.

‘Safe Haven’

In “Escape From Planet Earth,” a heroic astronaut from the planet Baab ignores the misgivings of his brother and colleagues to respond to an SOS that turns out to be a trap. The movie features the voices of Brendan Fraser, Sofia Vergara and Ricky Gervais.

“Safe Haven” stars Julianne Hough as a young woman who seems to have buried secrets from her past by taking a job in a small North Carolina community. Her idyllic new life is interrupted when a stranger comes to town asking questions about her.

“Dark Skies,” which finished sixth, tells the story of a family whose home life is disrupted by a mysterious force. The film, with $8.2 million in sales, stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as parents who battle the malevolent presence.

Revenue for the top 12 films fell 23 percent to $88.3 million from the year-earlier weekend, Hollywood.com said. Sales for the first eight weeks of the year are down 6.7 percent to $1.41 billion. Attendance is down 7.8 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Feb. 22 through yesterday.

                     Rev.             Avg./    Pct.   Total
Movie               (mln) Theaters  Theater    Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 IDENTITY THIEF    $14.0   3,222   $4,350    -41    $93.6    3
 2 SNITCH             13.2   2,511    5,244     --     13.2    1
 3 ESCAPE FROM EARTH  10.7   3,353    3,186    -33     34.8    2
 4 SAFE HAVEN         10.5   3,223    3,244    -51     47.9    2
 5 DIE HARD           10.2   3,555    2,860    -59     52.0    2
 6 DARK SKIES          8.2   2,313    3,540     --      8.2    1
 7 SILVER LININGS      5.8   2,012    2,858     -8    107.2   15
 8 WARM BODIES         4.8   2,644    1,825    -46     58.2    4
 9 BEAUTIFUL CREATURES 3.6   2,950    1,223    -52     16.6    2
10 SIDE EFFECTS        3.4   2,070    1,622    -46     25.1    3
11 ZERO DARK THIRTY    2.2   1,197    1,863    -26     91.5   10
12 ARGO                1.8     802    2,278    -16    129.7   20

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $88.3 $114.2 -23

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $1,408 $1,510 -6.7% Year-to-date Attendance: -7.8%