‘Identity Thief’ Wins Over Audiences Despite Poor Reviews

 @Justine__Ashley on February 11 2013 11:05 AM

If this weekend's box office is any indication, terrible reviews are not enough to stop a slapstick comedy from surpassing the supposed swan song from one of the most acclaimed director's working today -- Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects."

In a surprise almost as shocking as having your identity stolen, “Identity Thief” is a hit.

The film, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, earned a stunning $36.6 million this weekend—making it the best box office debut so far this year. (Granted, the year is pretty young, but still, it's worth mentioning.)

“Identity Thief’s” success comes after weeks of disappointing box office returns (only the horror flick “Mama” proved to be a successful new release).

There’s is a large disparity between what critics think of the film and what audiences have to say about it.

The film currently has a 24% rotten critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to the site, however, 74% of audiences enjoyed it.

Moviegoers gave the film a grade of B on the Cinema Society’s website and on Fandango, audiences voted the film a “Go.”

The film's success may be partly attributed to the fact that, aside from “Side Effects,” the comedy didn’t have any high profile films to contend with.

"Identity Thief's" box office victory is also a testament to the benefits of having a good trailer filled with car chases, laugh-out-loud funny moments, and of course, McCarthy.

It may be argued that the funnywoman was the film's main draw.

“Bridesmaids,” which grossed $288 million worldwide, not only earned McCarthy an Oscar nomination, it also propelled her to superstardom.

The 42-year-old Emmy winner was once best known for her role on “Gilmore Girls” but is now part of what some have referred to as the “Bridesmaid’s Effect,” in which more comedic roles are being written for women.

With the exception of “Horrible Bosses,” Bateman seldom headlines a box office hit. Films in which he had a lead role, like “The Switch” and “The Change-up,” failed to find an audience. (Perhaps he might considering branching out a bit thematically?)

Most of the “Arrested Development” star’s biggest hits like “Juno” and “Hancock” feature him in a supporting role.

McCarthy, who was named the “Queen of Comedy” by Entertainment Weekly in 2011, is set to star in a string of films this year.

She’ll appear opposite Sandra Bullock in the upcoming police comedy “The Heat.” The fact that the film’s release date was pushed from April 5 to June 28 isn’t a good sign, but the combined star power of the female leads will likely lure audiences.

It was announced on Thursday that the star is set to direct and star in the road trip flick “Tammy.”

When it comes to movies, positive word of mouth can lead to a box office goldmine, so “Identity Thief” could hold strong for another few weeks. That doesn’t mean that the film won’t have to fight off some serious competition. Next weekend marks the release of “A Good Day To Die Hard” and the supernatural romance “Beautiful Creatures.”    

 

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