Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
February 12, 2013
Kim Hollis: Identity Thief opened to $34.6 million. Why do you think this movie excelled to this degree?
Jay Barney: This is a great opening for Identity Thief, and as Kim alluded to in the Friday Box Office Analysis, the executives at Universal have to be breathing a little bit easier. Let’s just say their record over the last year isn’t stellar, with only a few solid money makers on the resume. Identity Thief will be welcome news.
An opening well over $30 million insures this will have met its budget by very soon, perhaps already. Even with reviews that are so-so, the film should have great numbers going into the next couple of weeks. The drop could be significant, but it won’t matter. Universal will have made money early in the game, and they can watch the return on their investment grow.
I’m not surprised this has turned into a pretty nice success for the studio. The trailer was funny enough, which matters a lot for a comedy. Melissa McCarthy does have a nice following now, especially after her role in Bridesmaids. Jason Bateman appears to have been a great casting success, considering his reserved, nuanced delivery of humor contrasts almost everything about McCarthy.
In the end Identity Thief should more than double its budget.
Bruce Hall: I think this is huge, actually. I have read one scathing review after another for this movie over the last few days, to the point you'd have to be living in a Tibetan monastery not to know how much most critics hate it. Still, it looks like Identity Thief is going to earn its production budget back by lunchtime tomorrow, if it hasn't already. I guess this just goes to show you - people absolutely LOVE Jason Bateman.
Edwin Davies: This is pretty astonishing, really. I was expecting an opening in the mid-20 million range, maybe even less given the adverse weather conditions, so to see it open so big is really quite a shock. I think it speaks to how big of an impact Melissa McCarthy made in Bridesmaids and with her work on Mike and Molly, whilst also indicating that there might have been a pent-up demand to see her really cut loose in a film after getting an Oscar nomination the first time around. Other than a brief appearance in This is 40, which relatively few people saw, she's not been in a film since Bridesmaids, so she hasn't been over-exposed yet or used up all the goodwill generated from that film. The generally lukewarm response from audiences seems to suggest that Identity Thief might dent her reputation somewhat (though we'll have to wait and see what happens with The Heat later this year to really get a sense of that) but this seems to be a good combination of a dearth of comedy, coupled with an actress whose career is ascending and a bunch of well edited trailers.
Reagen Sulewski: Hopefully we can all agree now that the next time some studio head tries to blame the weather for a poor opening, we can laugh in his face, right? Film going is an opportunistic behavior, and we saw a pretty clear demonstration that people had some downtime this weekend and managed to find a way to the theaters, snow storms and all. Every film was up over what you'd expect this weekend. Now, that didn't turn Identity Thief from a flop to a hit, but it's a factor.