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U’s ‘Identity Thief’ braves storm at Friday B.O.

Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman laffer on track for $30 mil weekend

Despite a powerful East Coast storm, Universal’s “Identity Thief” is heating up the U.S. box office.

The R-rated Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman laffer is on track for $30 million this weekend, according to early estimates, after some B.O. forecasts projected a chilly weekend for Hollywood.

“Nemo won’t cost box office more than around 5%,” one analyst said of the storm. He predicted that the biggest hit to the B.O. came on Friday.

Major exhibs AMC and Regal have closed several locations in New York and Boston because of the storm weather-watchers have dubbed Nemo. AMC has a total of 30 theaters closed, 19 in Gotham and eight in Boston. Additionally, theaters in New Jersey have cut back their screening schedules, dropping midnight showings, due to deteriorating weather conditions. Showtimes ended at 10 p.m. on Friday and were targeted to resume at noon on Saturday.

But the area affected by the storm represents only about 12% of the country’s box office. And not every theater in the Northeast will closed for the weekend, as one analyst noted.

“It’s business as usual for the rest of the country,” one rival exec notes.

The record-breaking blizzard, which is expected to drop 10 inches of snow in New York City, should begin to dissipate Saturday afternoon.

This weekend’s other wide release, Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects,” should come in at No. 2 with approximately $11 million.

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