Friday Box Office: ‘Thief’ sneaks back to top spot in third frame

Laffer earns $4.1 mil for cume of $83.7 mil; pic expected to win weekend

As Hollywood spends the weekend feting the year’s achievements at the 85th annual Academy Awards, the domestic B.O. goes just quiet enough for Universal’s “Identity Thief” to steal the top spot in its third frame.

This is pic’s second time on top, including its bow. Last frame, the U laffer dropped 32% to earn $23.7 million, and this frame it’s looking to fall another 45% to $13 million for a modest weekend win. Friday, “Identity Thief” grossed $4.1 million, and it has cumed $83.7 million to date.

Summit opener “Snitch” tied “Thief” with $4.1 million Friday, but is expected to end Sunday right on the laffer’s heels with around $12 million. The thriller is one of two wide openings the entered the frame with modest tracking. The second, Weinstein Co.’s “Dark Skies,” took fourth Friday with $3.1 million, but is expected to drop to sixth, all said, with a three-day in the high single digits.

Nicholas Sparks adaptation “Safe Haven” from Relativity is looking at a safe soph sesh, dropping about 50% Friday-to-Friday to $3.5 million. Pic will hold its perch through Sunday with a weekend total barely breaking $10 million.

Of best picture contenders, “Silver Linings Playbook” played best with $1.5 million at the Friday domestic B.O., and is expected to land just behind “Dark Skies” through Sunday. The strongest best picture nominees to date for this year’s kudocast include “Lincoln” ($177.5 million cume) and “Argo” ($128.3 million cume).