Update #5: Universal estimates that Identity Thief's opening haul will be $36.6 million. The Jason Bateman-Melissa McCarthy vehicle delivered big time on Saturday with $15.3 million, a 36.6% increase over Friday's $11.2 million haul.
Open Road estimates that Side Effects will debut to $10 million. The thriller held up very well on Saturday with $4.1 million, a 47% increase over Friday's $2.8 million gross.
Update #4: Universal is projecting that Identity Thief will end up with a very healthy $35 million debut frame. The comedy managed $11.2 million on Friday.
Boxoffice.com projects that Side Effects will open to $8.5 million. Open Road's thriller took in only $2.8 million on Friday.
Update #3: Despite the fact that theaters were closed Friday in New York, Boston and Connecticut, Identity Thief and Side Effects are both doing well at the box office. Early reports indicate that Identity Thief will debut to more than $30 million this weekend. Side Effects, an intense, R-rated thriller, will end up with around $12 million. Check back tomorrow for official Friday estimates.
Update #2: AMC Theatres will be closing theaters in Boston early on Friday. Here's the list.
Update #1: Winter storm Nemo will force many residents of key Northeast cities such as Boston, New York and Philadelphia to stay off the roads this weekend. CNN reports that more than two feet of snow could hit Boston. New York is bracing for as much as a foot. Supermarkets are now full of people bracing for a weekend spent indoors.
What does this mean for the box office?
Two promising wide releases hit theaters this weekend: Universal's Identity Thief and Open Road's Side Effects. Boxoffice.com is currently predicting that the two films will open to $27.8 million and $13.2 million, respectively. Yet lackluster weekend grosses from the Northeast could dampen the opening frames for both. It will also hurt Warm Bodies, the zombie flick that opened to more than $20 million last weekend despite facing competition from the Super Bowl. Word of mouth is strong for Warm Bodies and the storm could stop a lot of its momentum in crucial markets. Oscar contenders that are still going strong--Silver Lining Playbook in particular--will also feel the impact.
"No doubt weather will diminish Northeast box office today," Nikki Rocco, Universal's President of Domestic Distribution tells Boxoffice. "Hopefully folks can dig out by tomorrow."
All hope is not lost. Identity Thief and Side Effects can rebound as long as moviegoers throughout the rest of the country spread positive buzz on Facebook and Twitter. With plenty of plot twists, Side Effects will have no problem building the kind of buzz that will make people in the Northeast feel like they are missing out.