(Reuters) - "Identity Thief," a comedy starring television's "Mike & Molly" star Melissa McCarthy as a frizzy-haired con artist, collected $36.6 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada to take the box office title in its first weekend of release.
The film, produced by Jason Bateman, who plays the hapless guy whose identity is stolen by McCarthy's character, easily swiped the top rung from last week's No. 1 movie, the zombie love story "Warm Bodies," which earned $11.5 million. "Warm Bodies" has earned more than $36.6 million in its run.
Director Steven Soderbergh's crime drama "Side Effects," which stars Jude Law and Rooney Mara, came in third with domestic ticket sales of $10 million, according to studio estimates.
"Silver Linings Playbook," still benefiting from the buzz surrounding the Oscar nominations for its four stars, as well as a best picture nod, was fourth with $6.9 million. It has generated total ticket sales of more than $90 million.
The special effects take on the children's fairy tale "Hansel & Gretel," in which the grown-up siblings hunt down witches, was fifth with $5.7 million.
(Reporting By Ronald Grover and Patricia Reaney; Editing by Bill Trott)