Dave Karger
November 27, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

It’s a battle of the former ”Saturday Night Live” comedians at multiplexes this Thanksgiving weekend, as Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Will Ferrell compete for box office supremacy. With a little help from Dr. Seuss, Myers should win.

After debuting last weekend with $38.3 million, ”The Cat in the Hat” is likely to prove the most irresistible holiday film this weekend, thanks to its eyepopping visuals and generally sunny tone. Over the five-day period, it should gross another $45 million.

Of the week’s new releases, the most promising seems to be Murphy’s ”Haunted Mansion,” the latest film based on a Disney theme-park ride. But with mostly poor reviews, this one will be no ”Pirates of the Caribbean.” Still, Murphy’s star power should result in a $40 million debut.

Ferrell, meanwhile, will see a sizable bump in ”Elf”’s take as more audiences get in the holiday mood. Already just shy of $100 million in domestic sales, ”Elf” should earn another $25 million, followed by last week’s No. 2 film, ”Gothika,” with around $20 million.

One of three other new films will round out the top five. Billy Bob Thornton’s dark comedy ”Bad Santa” will draw younger male fans to the tune of $18 million; Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones’ frightening Western will scare up about $16 million; and the time-travel thriller ”Timeline,” starring Paul Walker, might get lost in time with about $16 million.

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