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Box Office Report

‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Opens #1 in Both U.S. and China

Kung Fu Panda 3 dominated on both sides of the Pacific last weekend, scoring a number one launch in the United States and a record-breaking number one launch in China.

In the United States, the latest installment of the DreamWorks franchise debuted atop the box office with an estimated $41 million. The opening represents a drop-off from Kung Fu Panda 2, which opened with $47.7 million in 2011, or the original’s $60.2 million bow in 2008, but it’s a nonetheless significant launch for the slow January period. In fact, when final numbers are released, it may even top Ride Along’s $41.5 million debut to become the highest-grossing January launch of all-time.

The domestic box office gross doesn’t begin to tell the whole story about the Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh-directed movie. Kung Fu Panda, much like Blue Sky’s Ice Age franchise, has found greater success abroad than at home. In fact, less than 25% of Kung Fu Panda 2′s total box office came from the United States. Expect that number to drop even further with this latest installment.

Internationally, KFP3 launched in a handful of major markets including China, South Korea, and Russia, with $75.7 million. The bulk of that came from its record-setting debut in China, where it picked up $58.3M from around 15,000 screens, a record for an animated release in China. The film is widely expected to surpass the Chinese animation box office record, which was set last year with Monkey King: Hero Is Back’s $153M gross.

A big reason why KFP3 has a shot at the record is that the film is considered a Chinese production, due to its Oriental DreamWorks affiliation, which allows the film to bypass one-month long screening restrictions for foreign films and enjoy status as a locally-produced film.

The film also launched in the number one spots in Korea ($11.4M) and Russia ($5.1M). Perhaps a sign of concern, both launches are lower than the previous installment in the franchise; KFP2 opened in Korea with $12.8M and Russia with $15M.

Back in the United States, Shorts International launched its touring program of Oscar-nominated shorts on 112 screens with a robust $505,000 (a per-screen average of $4,509). Also, the Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson-directed Anomalisa picked up $355,000 in its fifth weekend from 169 screens. The Oscar-nominated stop mo pic has earned $1.9M to date.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I hope makes a lot of money so what remaining artists they have left at DreamWorks won’t get laid off.

  • Matt

    KP3 in my opinion has been the best of the 3 films. The animation and graphic style definitely takes cg to a new level. The color palette felt very much like something from 2d and every scene is action packed. Worth seeing!

  • “The domestic box office gross doesn’t begin to tell the whole story
    about the Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh-directed movie. Kung Fu Panda, much like Blue Sky’s Ice Age franchise, has found greater success abroad than at home.”

    To be honest, most animated feature films have their returns done better internationally than domestically. That includes Pixar and Illumination Entertainment.

    • AmidAmidi

      Yes, obviously animated films will earn more internationally because there are more screens internationally. But few animated films gross less than 25% of their overall total from the United States, like the current KFP3 will end up doing, or the recent entries in the Ice Age franchise have. For example, “Inside Out” grossed over 41% in the US, “Minions” 29% in the US, and “Home” 46% in US. Films like KFP and Ice Age are outliers in that over 75% of their gross will be international.

  • Gordon

    Its pretty strange that Home made more in its first weekend than Kung Fu Panda 3.

  • Tim Tran

    Yes, because DreamWorks is Sooooo not lazy.
    Honestly, if your animation is pretty but has no substance, its all the same. Big Hero 6 was extremely detailed, and so was The Good Dinosaur and upcoming Zootopia. Compare those to Home and Penguin of Madagascar.

    • jawsnnn

      Big Hero 6 had okayish set design and it really looked rushed on the characters. Same goes for The good dinosaur – which was one of the most boring looking films last year. And comparing the best movies of Pixar to Home and Madagascar is like comparing Kung Fu Panda and How to train your Dragon to Planes and Cars 2.
      Anyway what’s your point? I think Kung Fu Panda 3 had better animation than anything Pixar/Disney movie has been tirning out lately. If that changes in near future – awesome for Disney/Pixar

    • jawsnnn

      Why should I compare the top slate of Pixar to the straight-to-DVD slate of Dreamworks? Home and Madagascar belong to the “Planes”, “Cars 2” genre of movies. The Good Dinosaur/Zootopia should be compared with How to Train your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda movies.
      I did not like How to Train your Dragon 2 much, but looking at animation alone it was much more beautiful than anything Pixar/Disney put out that year.
      Substance is another discussion altogether. I would prefer non-Hollywood animation any day if I had to pick something with substance.

      • Doconnor

        Budgets from WIkipedia:

        How to Train your Dragon 2: $145 million
        Penguins of Madagascar: $132 million
        Home: $135 million
        Kung Fu Panda 3: $145 million

        So the budgets for the movies you suggest where straight-to-DVD are only marginally less then the mainline movies.

      • Netko

        So what, the only non-straight-to-DVD movies DW made are Panda and Dragon then? Because they have many more movies than that under their belt and you might want to check their budget if you think they’re all cheap and KFP and Dragon were the only ones made to be more special and expensive than the rest.

  • Slim Cognito

    Glad to hear it’s doing well. It would suck to see Dreamworks having to lay off a bunch of artists again.

  • Netko

    Yes, Pixar and Disney should take a page out of DW’s book and start creating true quality masterpieces like Home and Turbo.

    • jawsnnn

      Or no, they should continue turning out the same bland looking plastic characters who can easily be turned into toys, with themes of family values and being yourself.
      Comparing the best works of both studios for sheer artistry and imagination, DreamWorks is the clear winner (and probably has been since a long time). I can’t even remember the last Pixar movie that I enjoyed for its visuals.

      • Netko

        Are you talking about DW or Pixar? Because DW is the one with plastic-looking designs that look sellable. Pixar’s designs in Inside Out were ugly but not particularly toy-like. The Good dinosaur looked like someone thought Home’s awful rubbery-toy design philosophy is brilliant and it had probably the worst designs I’ve seen in a big-budget cartoon. I would agree that Pixar is, only in regards to character design, the worst of the big studios.

        DW is the one recycling the same underdog story over and over again. Pixar’s themes, even in their latest crappy features (Brave, Cars 2, Good dino) are at least somewhat ambitious. Certainly more than another hypocritical by-the-book DW movie about being yourself and following your dreams, a theme which even their good movies like Panda and Dragon have.

    • jawsnnn

      Strawman much?

  • Johnny Marques

    The gulf in quality between Dreamworks’ Panda/Dragon movies and their other fare is larger than the Grand Canyon.