We’ve learned that Melissa McCarthy will host Saturday Night Live on April 6. This will be McCarthy’s second time hosting SNL in two years and she received rave reviews the first time around in October 2011. One of the highlights of that appearance was a reunion with her Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig in The Lawrence Welk Show cold opening. McCarthy currently stars in the box office hit Identity Thief with Jason Bateman.
#1 ‘Identity Thief’ Steals $36M Weekend (Bigger Than ‘Bridesmaids’), #2 ‘Warm Bodies’ $11.4M, #3 ‘Side Effects’ $9.5M: Blizzard Didn’t Blitz U.S. Box Office
SATURDAY 11:45 PM, 7TH UPDATE: Well, Winter Storm Nemo raged over the Northeast Friday but box office stayed really solid. Despite movie theaters closed by nightfall and venues with lost power. Even though Northeast governors shut down all road traffic and imposed fines and even jailtime. That could have been terrible news for this weekend’s two major openers but wasn’t. Now for the dig out. Both Universal’s frenemies comedy Identity Thief and Open Roads Films’ Steven Soderbergh crime thriller Side Effects scored middling ‘B’ CinemaScores which won’t help or hurt word of mouth. Yet grosses went up double digits – +35% and +52% respectively from Friday to Saturday for the pair. True, this weekend’s total moviegoing is only $100M which is down a disappointing 45% from last year.
Even so I’m astonished that weekend trends showed incredibly strong numbers for Identity Thief (originally in 3,141 theaters) with $11.2 million Friday and $15 million (+35%) Saturday trending for $36M this weekend. Despite (or because) it was critically panned as derivative drivel, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman comedy is doing fantastic box office in nation’s center (which Hollywood derides as ‘flyover’ country). ”Everyone says Identity Thief is really good – even when it gets formulaic,” a rival exec admitted to me. And it only cost $35M, claims the studio. It’s even beating McCarthy’s Bridesmaids opening numbers - $26.2M weekend from 2,918 theaters on May 13, 2011. Of course, that Universal movie went on to do a huge multiple for the studio which would be happy with 3x now.
Identity Thief is doing 1/3 better than tracking predicted — and it was tracking well before the storm. Led initially by females, awareness and interest spread out to men, helped by 2 spots around the Super Bowl this past Sunday. But why Hollywood keeps making this story every decade is beyond me – 2003′s Bringing Down The House with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin, 1992′s HouseSitter with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. This one reteams Batemen with his Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon, and it’s McCarthy’s first starring role since Bridesmaids which earned her an Oscar nomination. Identity Thief was produced by Scott Stuber, Pam Abdy and Bateman who pitched Stuber the idea while they were working together on Couples Retreat. They originally developed the film for two male leads, but then they saw McCarthy in Bridesmaids and adapted the co-lead role for her with more physical comedy. Overseas, pic opens day and date in Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Taiwan and continues rolling out abroad beginning February 21st.
#3 is last weekend’s winner, Summit Entertainment’s zombies rule comedy Warm Bodies, which grossed $3.2M Friday and $5.4M Saturday for maybe $11.7M after its big $25.1M opening a week ago. New cume is $36.8M.
#3 is Side Effects (originally 2,605 theaters) opening with $2.8M Friday and $4.2M Saturday (+52%) for a $9.4M weekend. Open Road, underwritten by both AMC and Regal, claims it will make a profit at that result even with a production budget of $30M and a marketing spend of $20M. Open Road in January 2012 pre-bought the U.S. rights to Side Effects which was financed by Endgame Entertainment. Pic’s producers are Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Gregory Jacobs, and Scott Z. Burns who is also the screenwriter. With a marquee director in Steven Soderbergh and a marquee cast in Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, it’s perplexing why pic didn’t do better at the box office. Obviously, kicking off the publicity campaign with a New York Times piece doesn’t mean anything anymore. Rooney Mara even appeared on the cover of Vogue and Interview Magazine. But the hip stayed home. The trailer launched on November 2nd with Flight and the media campaign was focused on adults 18-49. A heavy word-of-mouth screening program included screenings for psychiatric doctor groups accompanied by niche publicity about the psychiatric medicine of the movie. The online campaign kicked off with a viral push for the fictional drug featured in the film. Interestingly, much of the content featured on the film’s website could only be revealed by rollover – alluding to the theme of the film that there is much more beneath the surface. Oh, well.
Warner Bros pushed up the print count to 1,405 for its Best Picture Oscar lead contender Argo in its 18th week to jump back into the Top Ten Films for a $2M weekend and $123.2M cume. And Paramount’s Top Gun reissued in 3D IMAX (300 locations) rounded out the Top Ten with $2M for the weekend in support of the Blu-ray debut this month.
Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:
1. Identity Thief (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,141]
Friday $11.2M, Saturday $15.0M, Weekend $36.0M
2. Warm Bodies (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,009]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $5.4M, Weekend $11.7M (-43%), Cume $36.8M
3. Side Effects (Open Road) NEW [Runs 2,605]
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $9.4M
4. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 13 [Runs 2,809]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $6.4M, Cume $89.5M
5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) Week 3 [Runs 3,285]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $5.7M, Cume $43.8M
Why Melissa McCarthy’s Lack Of Vanity Is Important, Despite What Cranky Critic Rex Reed Spews In ‘Identity Thief’ Review
UPDATE: Now here’s why Freaks And Geeks creator and Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig is a highly paid screenwriter, and I am not. It’s all about economizing your words. What took me three long paragraphs to convey, Feig does in this simple tweet: @Paul Feig: For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself.
PREVIOUS: I have as thick a skin as anybody, but I must say I’m appalled by New York Observer critic Rex Reed and a review of Identity Thief where he spends all his cleverness on cruel adjectives for the weight of its star, Melissa McCarthy. Here is a woman who probably has been on the heavy side all her life, but who has developed the self-confidence to be comfortable enough in who she is that she is willing to put herself on the screen in most unglamorous ways because it serves the comedy. Having first seen her work in Mike and Molly, where she is pretty glamorous in my book, I remember being put off in early Bridesmaids trailers when I saw her wearing no makeup and looking pretty raw. When I saw that raucous comedy, I felt that, if she didn’t steal the film she came close, playing a grounded character. Her hosting gig on Saturday Night Live put on display some of the best physical comedy skills I’ve seen since the early days of Jim Carrey, Chris Farley, Steve Martin, John Candy and even Curly Howard of The Three Stooges. There are no women on that short list because I just can’t think of any. Like all those guys, McCarthy’s lack of vanity is astonishing.
When I was in college, Rex Reed was described by my profs as one of the new generation of film critics who was changing that game. I read a lot of his stuff and found his writing graceful and bold. I don’t know if he has kids, but I have two daughters. It sensitizes you to many things, including the temptation to obsess about being rail thin. All you want for your girls is that they feel comfortable in their own skin, and McCarthy is a shining example of that. Reed obviously doesn’t even consider that McCarthy is breaking boundaries and making it okay for girls all over to feel good about themselves even if, when they look in the mirror, they don’t see a waif-like Victoria’s Secret model staring back.
Universal Pictures has released a new trailer for Identity Thief, the Seth Gordon-directed comedy that stars Jason Bateman as the victim of a woman who has swiped his identity and destroyed his credit. Somehow, his only way out is to apprehend the thief and accompany her on a road trip. She’s played by Melissa McCarthy, and it looks like a strong opportunity for McCarthy to show off some of the sharpest physical comic skills of any actress I’ve seen in forever. McCarthy, relatively refined in her Emmy-winning role in Mike & Molly, let those skills shine in Bridesmaids and practically stole the movie. She did it again in Saturday Night Live, in an outrageous hosting stint. Will a whole movie’s worth of this be too much, or just right? The film opens February 8.
The first trailer for Universal‘s comedy Identity Thief appeared today. It stars Jason Bateman as a successful guy and Melissa McCarthy as the con artist that ruins his life. It is directed by Bateman’s Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon. The studio had set a May 2013 release date for the pic but recently moved it to February 8, 2013.
Morris Chestnut has joined the cast of Universal‘s Identity Thief, opposite Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. The Seth Gordon-directed comedy is produced by Bateman and Scott Stuber. Chestnut will play a Boston police detective in the caper comedy about a successful man whose life is ruined when a women steals his identity. T.I. and Genesis Rodriguez also star. Chestnut was recently seen in Think Like A Man and FX’s American Horror Story. He’s repped by Gersh and KLWGN Entertainment.
Related: T.I. Joins Cast Of ‘Identity Thief’
Rapper-turned-actor T.I. will play a bounty hunter in Identity Thief, the Universal Pictures comedy that stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. T.I.’s character hunts both of them, as Bateman’s character becomes an unlikely companion for McCarthy’s character after she steals his identity. T.I. is co-starring in Kelsey Grammer’s series Boss for Starz, as well as the second season of his own VH1 series Family Hustle. On the big screen, he most recently starred in and produced Screen Gems’ Takers. He recently signed with WME and remains repped by Category 5.
Genesis Rodriguez has joined Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in the Universal comedy Identity Thief. She will play an associate to a local crime boss that comes looking for McCarthy’s character after she scams them out of money. Rodriguez starred in Man On A Ledge and Casa De Mi Padre and just opened in What To Expect When You’re Expecting. She is repped by ICM and De Paz Management.