Good news for Melissa McCarthy: bad reviews don't always mean bad box office takings, as her the first movie for her to star in has snatched the top spot for the year so far. Taking over $30m in its first weekend, Identity Thief has defied critics and beaten all other films so far this year to be the biggest opener of 2013.

Identity Thief is about an exuberant identity thief (McCarthy) who uses credit cards to steal the details of unassuming members of the public. One of the people she cons (Jason Bateman) loses his job over the con and sets about to find her to make her confess so that he can get his life back on track. The success of the movie is said to be down to McCarthy's star power, who has delighted audiences for years in TV shows such as The Gilmore Girls and, more recently, the movie Bridesmaids. Nikki Rocco from Universal, said: "She is an absolute favorite of audiences... and has become an absolute darling particularly in middle America, where the film did very strong business." 

As the LA Times reports, prior to Identity Thief, the collaboration between Guillermo Del Toro and Jessica Chastain in Mama had managed to take $28m back in January, but that was no match for the $36.6m that Identity Thief boasts. The only other movie to open nationwide this weekend was Steven Soderberg's Side Effects, which managed only $10m, a disappointing start for the director's purported final feature film.