Eddie Murphy's 'Mansion' Haunted By 'Cat In The Hat'

Funnyman almost scares off Dr. Seuss flick.

Even Eddie Murphy's new family-friendly reputation wasn't enough to declaw

Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat." The second big-screen adaptation of a book by the beloved children's author barely squeaked by Murphy's family spookfest with $25.6

million from Friday to Sunday, according to studio estimates, topping the heap

for a second week in a row despite losing more than a third of its audience.

There was a bit of confusion for a few hours on Sunday after the Cat's

studio, Universal, said a junior employee released the wrong totals, which put the

film behind Murphy's for the weekend.

"The Haunted Mansion" brought in $25.3 million for an estimated total of $35

million since its Wednesday debut, which put it slightly ahead of Mike

Myers' roundly reviled turn in the children's classic for the five-day holiday

period (see "Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin On How They Skinned Seuss' 'Cat' "). Rounding out the top three was another family flick, Will Ferrell's "Elf,"

which had another strong week, taking in $22.2 million for a four-week total

of $130.1 million. "Elf" was the only movie already in release to have an

audience gain for the weekend, picking up 18 percent more fans.

The Halle Berry thriller "Gothika" grossed an estimated $12.7 million to

land in fourth place, followed by the Russell Crowe nautical adventure "Master

and Commander" at $12.7 million.

A movie that was definitely not safe for the whole family, the dirty-minded

"Bad Santa," starring Billy Bob Thornton as a mean-spirited St. Nick who robs

department stores, debuted at #6 with an estimated $12.5 million from Friday to

Sunday.

Just four weeks into its run, "The Matrix Revolutions" dropped out of the top

10, falling to #11 with grosses of $4.5 million. A number of smaller films

did well in limited release, among them the Sean Penn-topped "21 Grams," which

took in just under $1 million, as well as Jim Sheridan's ("In the Name of the

Father") semi-autobiographical film "In America," which banked over $200,000 in

just 11 theaters.

The Wednesday-to-Sunday take of $209.5 million is expected to go down as the

second-best Thanksgiving haul ever, beating out 1999's $208 million, but

slightly behind 2000's $232.2 million, which was boosted by Dr. Seuss' "How the

Grinch Stole Christmas."

The near-record numbers were an eight percent improvement over the same

period last year.

The rest of the top 10: "The Missing" at #7 with $11.7 million;

"Timeline" at #8 with $8.5 million; "Love Actually" at #9 with $8.2 million and

"Brother Bear" at #10 with $4.9 million.