10 February 2013 9:06 AM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Moviegoers nationwide embraced Melissa McCarthy in her first feature film starring role and sent "Identity Thief" to No. 1 at the box office with a surprisingly strong $36.5 million debut. The PG-13 Universal comedy, in which McCarthy co-stars with Jason Bateman, ran up the impressive total -- about $10 million higher than analysts' pre-release projections -- despite some rough reviews and an East Coast blizzard that resulted in the AMC and Regal theater chains shutting locations in New England on Friday and Saturday. Also read: Rex Reed Ripped for Calling Melissa McCarthy »

- Todd Cunningham

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