Oscar weekend is never heavy-hitter and so it proved to be this year as Snitch opened in second place through Summit, allowed Universal’s Identity Thief to climb back to number one in its third weekend on an estimated $14.1m.

Business at the box office was particularly weak this year as aggregate grosses for the top 12 films dropped approximately 22% against the same session in 2012.

That said, an opportunistic result for the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman comedy means the film should have little trouble crossing $100m this week from its $93.7m perch.

Snitch arrived on $13m and stars Dwayne Johnson as a father who cuts a deal to infiltrate a drug gang after his son falls foul of the legal system. Summit Entertainment distributes the crime drama produced by Exclusive Media, who co-financed with Participant Media and Imagenation. Exclusive Media handled international pre-sales.

Genre maestro Jason Blum produced Dark Skies, which opened in sixth place on $8.9m through Dimension Films and stars Keri Russell as a woman whose family is visited by supernatural forces.

Warm Bodies remains active through Summit and ranks number eight in its fourth weekend on a respectable $58.3m running total.

The drama Bless Me Ultima opened through Arenas Entertainment on $503,000 from 263 sites. Tribeca Film released Rubberneck and Red Flag and each film grossed $2,705 from a single venue. IFC opened Inescapable on $721 from two sites.

Next weekend’s wide releases are: Warner Bros’ fantasy adventure Jack The Giant Slayer from Bryan Singer and starring Nicholas Hoult from Warm Bodies; Relativity Media’s comedy 21 And Over; CBS Films’ The Last Exorcism Part II; and the thriller Phantom starring Ed Harris and David Duchovny and released through RCR Distribution.

Estimated Top 10 North America Feb 22-24 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (2) Identity Thief (Universal) UPI $14.1m $93.7m
2 (-) Snitch (Summit Entertainment) Exclusive Media $13m –
3 (4) Escape From Planet Earth (TWC) TWC Int’l $11m $35.1m
4 (3) Safe Haven (Relativity) FilmNation $10.6m $48.1m
5 (1) A Good Day To Die Hard (Fox) Fox Int’l $10m $51.8m
6  (-) Dark Skies (Dimension) TWC International $8.9m –
7 (8) Silver Linings Playbook (TWC) TWC Int’l $6.1m $107.5m
8 (5) Warm Bodies (Summit) Summit Int’l $4.8m $58.3m
9 (7) Side Effects (Open Road) FilmNation $3.5m $25.3m
10 (6) Beautiful Creatures (Warner Bros) Summit Int’l $3.4m $16.4m