Tom Cruise's war epic The Last Samurai has cut down competition to land atop America's box office with $24.4 million (GBP15.25) in ticket sales this weekend (05-07DEC03).

Cruise's other recent films have opened stronger, such as the $35.6 million (GBP20.9 million) debut for Minority Report and the $57.8 million (GBP34 million) opening of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II.

But the hunky star's movie still managed to topple the previous week's number one film, DR SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT, which fell to fifth place with $7.3 million (GBP4.2 million) - bringing its total to $85.5 million (GBP50.2 million), according to UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

Jessica Alba's dance movie HONEY - the only other new film opening in wide release - ranked second with $14 million (GBP8.2 million) despite generally poor reviews, some of which compared its story to the infamous Mariah Carey bomb GLITTER.

Eddie Murphy's THE HAUNTED MANSION took third place with $9.5 million (GBP5.5 million), while Will Ferrell's festive hit ELF followed with $8.1 million (GBP4.7 million).

08/12/2003 02:30