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Last Updated: Monday, 8 December, 2003, 09:00 GMT
Cruise's Samurai film is US hit
Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai
Cruise shot the historical epic in New Zealand
Tom Cruise's historical epic The Last Samurai has taken more than $24.4m (15.2m) in its first week, topping the North American box office.

The film, about a western mercenary who forms a bond with a group of Samurai in 19th Century Japan, replaced Mike Myers' The Cat in the Hat at the top.

Cruise's other recent films, Minority Report, Mission Impossible II and Vanilla Sky also debuted at number one.

Melodrama Honey, about an aspiring dancer, took second place with $14m.

The film has been compared with Mariah Carey's box-office bomb Glitter.

Top five North American films
1 The Last Samurai - $24.4m (15.2m)
2 Honey - $14m (8.75m)
3 The Haunted Mansion - $9.5m (5.93m)
4 Elf - $8.1m (5.06m)
5 Dr Seuss's The Cat in the Hat - $7.5m (4.68m)
Source: Exhibitor Relations

Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office analysts Exhibitor Relations, said Cruise's film, which was shot in New Zealand, showed Cruise's "drawing power", given it was an "R-rated film, a very long film, a period epic".

Last week's number one film, Mike Myer's big-screen version of the Dr Seuss children's book The Cat in the Hat, fell four places to number five, having taken $7.5m (4.68m) in its second week.

The film has already taken $85.5m (53.4m) since its release in November.

Two comedies also charted in the top five - Eddie Murphy's The Haunted Mansion was at number three with $9.5m (5.93m) and Elf at number four with $8.1m (5.06m) .

British romantic comedy Love Actually just made it into the top 10, with takings of $3.7m (2.31m).

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