Box Office Report: 'Identity Thief' Outwits 'Snitch' With $14.1 Mil, Reclaims Top Spot

Identity Thief McCarthy Table Film Still - H 2013

Identity Thief McCarthy Table Film Still - H 2013

An overall soft weekend sees Dwayne Johnson's "Snitch" place No. 2 spot with $13 million, while micro-budgeted "Dark Skies" debuts to $8.9 million; holdover kids pic "Escape from Planet Earth" rises up the chart.

Melissa McCarthy's Identity Thief  reclaimed the top spot at the domestic box office in its third weekend, narrowly besting Dwayne Johnson's new action-thriller Snitch with $14.1 million and pushing the Universal comedy's total to $93.7 million.

Snitch, produced and financed by Exclusive Media and Participant, opened to $13 million during an overall soft weekend for moviegoing. Sunday's Oscar ceremony was only part of the reason as revenue tumbled more than 22 percent from the same weekend last year, when Act of Valor opened to north of $24 million.

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Exclusive Media and Participant likely wanted Snitch to do more, though the movie opened respectably ahead of several high-profile action pics that bombed in recent weeks, including Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand and Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head. It also bested the $8 million opening of Johnson's Faster in 2008.

Lionsgate acquired domestic rights to Snitch for roughly $2.5 million. The film, costing a relatively modest $22 million to $25 million to produce, received a B CinemaScore and middling reviews.

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Snitch stars Johnson as a father who agrees to become an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel after his son is wrongly charged with drug distribution. The PG-13 action-thriller also stars Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Bratt, Barry Pepper and Jon Bernthal.

A Frontline documentary about how changes to U.S. federal drug policy encourage prisoners to rat on their cronies provided the original inspiration for Snitch.

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Coming in No. 3 after Identity Thief and Snitch was the animated Escape From Planet Earth, which moved up the chart in its second outing, grossing $11 million for a domestic total of $35.1 million. The Weinstein Co. is distributing the film.

The adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' romantic drama Safe Haven placed No. 4, falling 50 percent in its second weekend to gross $10.6 million for a domestic total of $48.1 million.

Last weekend, Identity Thief -- the top-grossing film of 2013 -- ceded the No. 1 spot to Bruce Willis starrer A Good Day to Die Hard.

Die Hard tumbled 60 percent in its second weekend, grossing $10 million to come in No. 5. From 20th Century Fox, the movie's domestic total through Sunday is $51.8 million.

Microbudgeted horror pic Dark Skies, the weekend's other new entry, placed No. 6 with $8.9 million.

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Dimension Films released Dark Skies, about a couple trying to save their children from an alien presence. Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton and Dakota Goyo star, with Jason Blum, Couper Samuelson and Jeannette Brill producing. Scott Stewart wrote and directed Dark Skies, which cost $3.5 million.

Below are estimates for the Feb. 22-24 weekend at the domestic box office.

Title, Weeks in release/theater count, studio, three-day weekend total, cume (*denotes Oscar best picture nominee)

1. Identity Thief, 3/3,222, Universal, $14.1 million, $93.7 million

2. Snitch, 1/2,511, Lionsgate, $13 million

3. Escape From Planet Earth, 2/3,353, The Weinstein Co, $11 million, $35.1 million

4. Safe Haven, 2/3,223, Relativity, $10.6 million, $48.1 million

5. A Good Day to Die Hard, 2/3,553, Fox, $10 million, $51.8 million

6. Dark Skies, 1/2,313, The Weinstein Co., $8.9 million

7. *Silver Linings Playbook, 15/2,012, The Weinstein Co., $6.1 million, $107.5 million

8. Warm Bodies, 4/2,644, Summit, $4.8 million, $58.2 million

9. Beautiful Creatures, 2/2,950, Warner Bros., $3.4 million, $16.4 million

10. Side Effects, 3/2,070, Open Road, $3.5 million, $25.3 million

Twitter @PamelaDayM