''Cat'' and ''Mansion'' both claim box office victory -- Eddie Murphy's spooked realtor and Mike Myers' furball each claim to have come out on top over Thanksgiving weekend

By Gary Susman
Updated November 27, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
The Cat in the Hat: Melinda Sue Gordon

Who won the box office battle this weekend? Depends who you ask, and when. Early Sunday, Disney estimates had ”The Haunted Mansion” opening on top with $25.3 million, besting the week-old ”Cat in the Hat” at $24.7 million. But later in the day, Universal revised its ”Cat” tally upward to $25.6 million, beating ”Mansion” by a whisker and scratching out a second straight victory. Still, ”Mansion” claimed the best performance over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, earning $35 million since it opened on Wednesday.

Similarly impressive was ”Elf”’s holiday magic; in its fourth week, its take actually rose 18 percent, stuffing another $22.2 million into its stocking for a third-place finish. Moviegoers seeking more grown-up fare made ”Gothika” the fourth-place finisher, as the Halle Berry thriller scared up another $12.71 million, down 34 percent from last week’s debut. That was enough to edge out ”Master and Commander,” which sailed into the No. 5 slot with a $12.7 million take, down just 17 percent from last week.

Besides ”Mansion,” the weekend’s other new movies included indie black comedy ”Bad Santa,” which opened in sixth place with a solid $12.5 million. Ron Howard’s western spectacle ”The Missing” rode in seventh with $11.7 million, while the sci-fi adventure ”Timeline” opened a disappointing eighth at just $8.5 million. You don’t need a time machine to predict this movie’s speedy retreat to the video shelves.