Looks like we have our first hit of 2013. “Identity Thief” opened strongly with $36 million, the first R-rated comedy to open over $20 million since last year’s “Ted”. The film, which starred Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy opened higher than director Seth Gordon’s previous highs (“Four Christmases” at $31 million and “Horrible Bosses” at $28 million) and much higher than McCarthy’s “Bridesmaids”, which opened with $26 million. All three of those films earned at least $117 million, meaning this film is well positioned to earn at least $100 million.

“Warm Bodies” fell to second. That left Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” to open in third with $10 million. The film, which stars Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jude Law had a disappointing opening that was less than half of what “Contagion” opened with.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

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