Box Office Preview

Clash of the Comedians

''Saturday Night Live'' alumni battle at multiplexes this Thanksgiving weekend. Funny men Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Will Ferrell compete for box office supremacy

Eddie Murphy, The Haunted Mansion | MURPHY'S MILLIONS Murphy stars in ''Haunted Mansion,'' which should rake in $40 million from its debut, despite poor reviews
MURPHY'S MILLIONS Murphy stars in ''Haunted Mansion,'' which should rake in $40 million from its debut, despite poor reviews

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.

Originally posted Nov 25, 2003 Published in issue #740 Dec 05, 2003 Order article reprints