A remarkable upset and congratulations to Identity Thief, which put Jon Favreau on the other side of the camera and adds to the list of films that found a small role for the T-1000 on the big screen again. But I’m sure these probably aren’t the primary reasons for its officially stealing #1 in the box office—Hollywood’s measuring cup for what talent is.

Now, although there are quite a few fans of Jason Bateman, the true sell here is Melissa McCarthy. She had a presence in Bridesmaids, a certain fearlessness that is commendable and indeed necessary for comedic actors and actresses. Identity Thief was a full-on Melissa-driven vehicle, so despite its terrible ratings and mostly inadequate execution of a marginally decent idea, the film has come out on top.

Meanwhile, I underestimated audiences again in terms of what they’d want—it looks like Warm Bodies finally collapsed unto itself. It’s basically a stupid idea, in my own personal opinion of course, and it’s unusual that even Holiday fuel couldn’t keep the film going. I’m impressed that audiences supported the raunch-comedy rather than the trend: monster love. I had a friend quite possessed by the book, and perhaps it actually has substance, but from the resulting film there’s nothing to see but another adapted young adult novel.

Soderbergh has been hit-or-miss for me, but Side Effects is driven by Rooney Mara who’s simply too talented to ignore. Channing Tatum serves as a miraculous anchor but a sturdy concept and a seasoned director always have the opportunity to make something truly interesting, if not as gripping as everyone would have you believe. Still, it’s an achievement to have something out there that isn’t just another plastic package with special sauce, extra cheese, and flashy trendy marketing tactics. You know, like Haywire.

Billy Crystal called them evil wizards: the Weinsteins. But they can’t get the hang of animation, can they? Escape from Planet Earth is the latest animated installment from the people that brought you Hoodwinked! So. Yeah. I don’t think it’ll overcome its competitors. Especially since a Nicholas Sparks movie is premiering on Valentine’s! Right along with A Good Day to Die Hard. Bruce Willis once starred in a movie called The Last Man Standing, and I don’t know if he saw it coming but he truly has managed to become exactly that. Anyways.

Sparks’ Safe Haven and Die Hard fighting it out? On a day of perpetual romance, or self-loathing? Oh, how I’d love to hear the conversations amongst couples out there insisting in the opposite directions. The guys want Die Hard, the girls want Safe Haven, and although the girls are highest-likely to win that competition, I still believe that A Good Day to Die Hard will cause highest commotion at the box office and steal first.

Even though the director John Moore is the genius behind the Omen remake and the writer Skip Woods is the brilliant wordsmith behind Hitman and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. They were obviously perfect choices for a Die Hard flick.

The Weekend Results

1.) Identity Thief (Universal): Opening weekend, with $36.5 million.

2.) Warm Bodies (Summit): Second weekend, with $11.5 million.

3.) Side Effects (ORF): Opening weekend, with $10.015 million.

4.) Silver Linings Playbook (Wein.): Thirteenth weekend, with $6.9 million.

5.) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (Par.): Third weekend, with $5.7 million.

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