‘What You Should Know’ is a new Rotoscopers series that gives you a detailed and (somewhat) objective rundown of this year’s animated films, right before or on the day they hit theaters. That way, you can make a decision on whether or not to see the movie based on the information provided.
MOVIE: Kung Fu Panda 3
DIRECTED BY: Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger
STARRING: Jack Black (Po), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Dustin Hoffman (Master Shifu), Lucy Liu (Viper), Seth Rogen (Mantis), Jackie Chan (Monkey), David Cross (Crane), James Hong (Mr. Ping), and Randall Duk Kim as Master Oogway. New to the cast are Kate Hudson as Mei Mei, Bryan Cranston as Li, and J.K.Simmons as Kai.
MUSIC BY: Hans Zimmer
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
PRODUCTION COMPANIES: DreamWorks Animation and Oriental DreamWorks
PRODUCTION BUDGET: $120-$140 million
BASED ON: no pre-existing properties, but it’s the third film in an animated franchise.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?:
Kung Fu Panda 3 is the long-awaited third installment in the Kung Fu Panda film franchise (the third of six planned films). Kung Fu Panda 3 will see Po reunite with his father and embrace his role as Dragon Warrior as he leads a hidden village of pandas against a supernatural enemy with ties to Master Oogway.
A BRIEF HISTORY:
The last Kung Fu Panda film was released in 2011, so it took somewhere in the ballpark of maybe 4-5 years for Kung Fu Panda 3 to be made. Along the way, the release date was shifted a few times, a second director was added, and several actors were replaced as pieces of the overall storyline shuffled around. It might have taken a while, but fans can finally rejoice as the third chapter in the Kung Fu Panda film series is now a reality.
IMPORTANT STUFF TO KNOW:
This film is DreamWorks Animation’s first co-production with its Chinese production studio Oriental DreamWorks, making Kung Fu Panda 3 the first major American animated feature to be co-produced by a Chinese studio.
With the sole exception of Alessandro Carloni as co-director, the same team that made Kung Fu Panda 2 – one of my all-time favorite DreamWorks Animation films – is back (Nelson, Aibel, and Burger with Guillermo del Toro as executive producer, etc). With a strong team also comes a strong cast, with J.K. Simmons and Bryan Cranston among the new additions.
Plot-wise, Kung Fu Panda 3 will see the culmination of a number of lingering plot threads and elements from the first two films (and the introduction of new threads as well): Po’s father, the panda village, the supernatural world, Po’s love interest(s). Above all, we get to see an integral phase of Po’s journey come to an end. Not that his story is definitely over, as we have three movies left!
This is the third film in the franchise, and films that are the third in a series tend to have a mixed track record. Also, this is the first film to be released under the new direction of DWA’s revamped film division, in addition to being the opening shot of the 2016 year in animation (Norm of the North didn’t happen). Box-office-wise, there is a lot riding on this film (even though the forecasts look pretty good).
Early tracking shows the film potentially opening with $40-$45 million over the weekend (and possibly higher). Some are even predicting an estimate higher than Kung Fu Panda 2‘s $47 million opening, but lower than the first film’s $60 million. This is all compared against Fox and DWA’s expectations for the film (mid $40 million).
That’s not to say that the film won’t have any big advantages on its side. Kung Fu Panda 3 will be the only game in town for family audiences, especially as the US recovers from the 2016 blizzard. The film also doesn’t face any real competition this weekend, even with The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens as holdovers. As such, Fandango reported Kung Fu Panda 3 as the top advance ticket seller for the weekend, beating out previous DWA entries like Home and Kung Fu Panda 2.
Then of course, there’s the added advantage of its release in China, where high expectations may translate into a bigger box-office gross there than in the US. There’s a good reason for this: because the film has a co-production with China, DreamWorks Animation was able to circumvent the country’s infamously strict import quota. This will allow the film (to be shown in the country’s native Mandarin) to take in a larger cut of the box-office revenue.
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
The film currently has a 78% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus states as follows: “‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel’s narrative is surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
If this article has you interested in seeing Kung Fu Panda 3, buy your tickets here on Fandango!
Thank you for reading the first installment of What You Should Know!
What do you think? Are you interested in Kung Fu Panda 3?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes