"The Cat in the Hat" had better watch his back next weekend because he might have a 6-foot-6-inch man in green tights to deal with.
Will Ferrell's "Elf" stomped the competition at the box office over the weekend, moving up a spot to first place with $27.2 million, according to studio estimates (Click for photos from "Elf"). That was enough to best the week's best-reviewed new movie, Russell Crowe's $150 million Napoleon-era nautical adventure, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," which debuted with an estimated $25.7 million.
While "Elf" was down more than 15 percent in its second week, the last episode in the Wachowski brothers' sci-fi trilogy, "The Matrix Revolutions," went into a freefall, dropping down into the #3 position with $16.3 million, off more than 65 percent from last week's debut. The movie has brought in $114.2 million in its first 12 days of release, but its second week drop-off was even steeper than May's "The Matrix Reloaded," which plunged 57 percent in its second week. Both sequels to one of the most beloved science-fiction movies of the past decade have been poorly reviewed and failed to live up to the hype of the original.
"Elf," which is expected to continue its strong draw through Christmas, has already grossed more than $71.3 million, but will likely cede the top spot next week to the Mike Myers-led big-screen version of Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat." The multiplex is full of family-friendly holiday fare this time of year, which explains why the animated "Brother Bear" has continued its strong box-office pull, grossing $12 million to land at #4.
The brand-new Bugs Bunny and company adventure, "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," which stars Brendan Fraser, Steve Martin and Jenna Elfman alongside Bugs and Daffy, opened in the #5 position with estimated grosses of $9.5 million, a weak showing for the big-screen return of the classic cartoon characters. The new Hugh Grant romantic comedy, "Love Actually," had a decent debut, grossing an estimated $8.9 million in just over 1,100 theaters, or less than half as many as were showing the top-five movies.
In limited release in just over 800 theaters, the documentary "Tupac: Resurrection" came in at #9 on grosses of $4.7 million.
Rounding out the top 10: "Scary Movie 3" at #7 with $6.1 million, "Radio" at #8 with $5 million and "Mystic River" at #10 with $3.3 million. Box-office receipts were down 23 percent from the same week last year.