10 February 2013 9:23 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

Identity Thief’ cements Melissa McCarthy’s stardom while Side Effects clarifies Channing Tatum’s box office drawing power. Melissa McCarthy is officially a comedy mega-star. There can be little dispute of that after this weekend. Identity Thief topped the box office this weekend with an astonishing $36.5 million and I’m at a loss to think of any reasons it would do so well aside from Ms. McCarthy. Jason Bateman is a terrific actor and a fine foil, but he’s box office poison as a lead (The Switch opened with $8.4 million, Extract opened to $4.3 million, and The Change-Up debuted with $13 million). The film’s simple and self-explanatory title, along with the clever expository tagline (“She’s having the time of his life.”) surely helped, as did the lack of any big comedies in the current marketplace. Parental Guidance and This Is Forty are both doing stealthy strong business, with $74 million and $67 million thus far respectively, »

- smblog@hollywoodnews.com (Scott Mendelson)

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