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Samurai Cuts Through Snow and Family Fare

Warner Bros.' THE LAST SAMURAI (with vfx from Flash Film Works, Rising Sun and Matte World) didn't quite meet expectations in its box office bow for the weekend ended Dec. 7, 2003, what with snow storms and heavy competition from family films, but the Tom Cruise epic still conquered the box office with an impressive $24.2M. Debuting at number two was the Universal romancer, HONEY, which drew $12.8M. Disney's THE HAUNTED MANSION (with vfx from Sony Imageworks) howled its way to number three in its second weekend with $9.3M, down 61%. The theme park-inspired Eddie Murphy comedy has grabbed $45.9M so far. New Line's ELF (with vfx by Rhythm & Hues, Chiodo Bros. Prods. and Amalgamated Pixels) came in fourth place with $8M, laughing its way to a cume of $139.5M. Universal's THE CAT IN THE HAT (with vfx by Rhythm & Hues) meowed its way to the fifth spot with $7.1M, giving the Dr. Seuss-inspired comedy $85.2M to date. Dimension's BAD SANTA raked in another $7M on its way to number five and a cume of $27.1M. Warner Bros.' ghost thriller, GOTHIKA (with vfx by CafeFX), scared up $5.2M on its way to seventh place with $49.5M. Sony Revolutions' THE MISSING captured $4M for the eighth spot, good enough for $21.8M. Fox's MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD (with vfx by Asylum and ILM) is losing steam at number nine. The upscale Peter Weir seafaring epic landed only $3.7M for a cume of $72.5M. Universal's LOVE ACTUALLY came in at number 10 with $3.3M and a total of $48.7M.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classics' THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVEVILLE dipped 46% in its second weekend, bringing in $57,907 in six for a total of $233,655. Box office information obtained from