U's R-rated laffer overcomes East Coast blizzard, surly critical reception

Universal’s “Identity Thief” is stealing eyes, mostly away from holdovers, this frame as it tops the weekend B.O. Friday, the laffer earned $11.2 million headed toward a three-day haul of $35 million.

Also budgeted at around $35 million, this first R-rated laffer of the year should keep U happy despite the unforgiving critical reception pic has received.

Going into the weekend, insiders warned of the impact of the blizzard spanning from Toronto to as far south as Philadelphia dubbed Nemo, but the worst of it hit Friday and should be edging off around Saturday afternoon. The actual toll on this weekend’s total should be pretty negligible, all said.

Benefiting from a slew of R-rated newcomers and holdovers, Summit’s teen-skewing zomcom “Warm Bodies” is holding well for second with $3.3 million Friday. Insiders are now projecting a gross around $10 million, repping an impressive hold (week-to-week drop around 50%) and taking second in its soph sesh.

Thus “Warm Bodies” leaves Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” out in the cold. Open Road’s thriller earned $2.8 million Friday, and is looking at a take short of $9 million through Sunday, pretty much in line with pre-weekend expectations for the $30 million-budgeted film.

At a modest 300 locations, Paramount’s 3D Imax exclusive re-release of “Top Gun,” with only $533,000 from Friday, earned enough coin to break into Friday’s domestic top 10. Whether or not it remains there through Sunday is hard to say, as a fluctuation of $100,000 one way or the other is the difference between staying and getting bumped.

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