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Box Office Analysis, Nov. 23: Cash in the "Hat"

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May 11, 2009 | 1:04pm EDT

The Cat pulled a load of cash out of his Hat this weekend at the box office.Proving you can have fun if you know how, Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat thing-a-ma-jigged its way to No. 1, opening with a respectable $40.1 million*, but paled in comparison to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the previous Seuss' adaptation, which opened in 2000 with $55 million.Though mostly lambasted by film critics, The Cat in the Hat may hold up well through the holidays, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told The Associated Press. "Little kids, they want what they want, and they don't care about reviews," Dergarabedian said. "Parents do have some say in the decision, but most of the time they'll just go along with the kids." The ghostly Gothika also debuted strongly, taking second place with $19.6 million, while last week's No.1 Elf dropped to third with $19.1 million. The historical Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World captured the fourth spot with $15.2 million, and rounding the top five was the sweetly romantic Love Actually with $9.1 million.THE TOP TENUniversal Pictures' PG-rated Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat became box office champion on its opening weekend with an ESTIMATED $40.1 million at 3,265 theaters. Its $12,282 per theater average was the highest of any film opening wide this week.This colorful adaptation of the children's classic tale is about two kids visited on a rainy day by a six-foot talking Cat in an oversized red-striped Hat who shows them how to have fun.Directed by Bo Welch, it stars Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Kelly Preston, Alec Baldwin and Sean Hayes.Warner Bros.' R-rated spooky thriller Gothika took second place with an ESTIMATED $19.6 million at 2,382 theaters ($8,237 per theater).The story follows a criminal psychologist who finds herself in a nightmarish situation when she wakes up in a prison for the criminally insane without any memory of killing her husband. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, it stars Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Penelope Cruz and Bernard Hill.Last week's champ, New Line Cinema's PG-rated holiday comedy Elf dropped to third in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $19.1 million (-27%) at 3,381 theaters (unchanged; $5,657 per theater). Its cume is approximately $95.1 million.Directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Zooey Deschanel and Mary Steenburgen.Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13-rated naval epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World fell to the fourth spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $15.2 million (-39%) at 3,101 theaters (unchanged; $4,902 per theater). Its cume is approximately 47.2 million.Directed by Peter Weir, it stars Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany.Universal Pictures' R-rated romantic comedy Love Actually actually jumped up a spot to No. 5 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.8 million (+5%) in 1,690 theaters (+513 theaters; $5,385 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.8 million.Directed and written by Richard Curtis, it stars Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.Warner Bros. R-rated sci-fi actioner The Matrix Revolutions dropped three notches to sixth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $6.7 million (-59%) in 3,024 theaters (-478; $2,229 per theater). Its cume is approximately $125 million.Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, it stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving.Buena Vista's G-rated animated film Brother Bear slipped three spots to seventh place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $5.5 million (-54%) in 2,885 theaters (unchanged; $1,905 per theater). Its cume is approximately $70.4 million. Directed by Aaron Blaise and Bob Walker, it features the voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, D.B. Sweeney and Michael Clarke Duncan.Warner Bros.' PG-rated live-action feature Looney Tunes: Back in Action dropped three rungs to No. 8 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-56%) in 2,903 theaters (unchanged; $1,414 per theater average). Its cume is approximately 14.7 million.Directed by Joe Dante, it stars Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton and Heather Locklear.Dimension Films' PG-13-rated spoof Scary Movie 3 fell two spots to ninth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $3.2 million (-44%) in 2,359 theaters (-601 theaters; $1,392 per theater). Its cume is approximately $106.6 million. Directed by David Zucker, it stars Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Simon Rex, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, George Carlin and Leslie Nielsen.Sony Pictures' PG-13-rated drama Radio slid down two notches to 10th position in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $2.6 million (-46%) in 1,925 theaters (-491 theaters; $1,351 per theater). Its cume is approximately $47 million.Directed by Michael Tollin, it stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris.OTHER OPENINGSFocus Features' R-rated 21 Grams opened in eight theaters with $256,434, a $32,054 per theater average.Following the lives of three people--a college professor balanced between life and death, a woman who has matured after her reckless past, and a religious ex-con struggling to provide for two children. A tragic accident that claims several lives places these people in each other's orbit. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it stars Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts.WEEKEND COMPARISON The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $128.8 million, up 5.55 percent from last weekend's $122.1 million take but down 11 percent from last year's $144.9 million.Last year, MGM's PG-13-rated Die Another Day opened in first place with $47 million at 3,314 theaters ($14,204 per theater); Warner Bros.' PG-rated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dropped to second with $42.2 million in 3,682 theaters ($11,469 per theater); and New Line Cinema's R-rated Friday After Next debuted in the third spot with $13 million at 1,616 theaters ($8,051 per theater).

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