“Kung Fu Panda 2″ Strong Overseas, Weak in US

Kung Fu Panda 2

The story of Kung Fu Panda 2‘s second weekend is much like its first: a success overseas and an underperformer in the US. Around the world, the film took in an estimated $40 million in its second frame, including $1.3 million in the United Arab Emirates, the highest-grossing animated opening in that country. Its overseas gross now totals $125M.

In the United States, it is the weakest performing DreamWorks movie in recent years. The film had a 49.9% drop in its second weekend, which is steep by DreamWorks standards. According to Box Office Mojo, audiences still avoided the 3-D version of Kung Fu Panda 2 in the second week, with only 44% of viewers choosing the enhanced imagery. Its $23.9 million weekend earnings pushed its domestic total to $100.4 million. For perspective, here are the second weekend drops and grosses for DreamWorks features in the previous three years:

(2010) Shrek Forever After: -38.9% ($43.3M)
(2010) Megamind: -36.7% ($29.1M)
(2010) How to Train Your Dragon: -33.7% ($29M)
(2009) Monsters vs. Aliens: -45.0% ($32.6M)
(2008) Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: -44.5% ($35M)
(2008) Kung Fu Panda: -44.2% ($33.6M)


  • ben c

    i wonder if the added percentage drop is because the opening weekend in this case was extra long?

    • amid

      The percentage drop is compared to its earlier 3-day weekend, not to an extended holiday weekend.

  • wgan

    maybe it’s a signal sent by US audience that they like original ‘hit and go’ more rather than a bunch of sequels regardless of the actual quality

  • DonaldC

    That’s a shame. I thought it was their best sense HTTYD.

  • Mister Twister

    Apparently, americans have bad taste.

    I am writing that, being an american.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Why I sometimes feel ashamed to be one at times.

    • Gene

      Doubt that. They’re skipping kfp2.

    • Soffe

      The United Arab Emirates has the taste standard?

      • Ethan

        Well, the proof is in the pudding.

        Considering it’s a gigantic success in China, I’d say China do have the taste standard when it comes to foreign films dealing with their very old culture, symbols, and philosophies. The Dreamworks team have been extremely respectful, you must give them that.

  • http://tresswygert.com Tres Swygert

    I’m not surprised. Really think about it: Kung Fu Panda 2 came out in a midst of blockbuster movies that were also sequels and first movies. It came out two weeks after Thor, a week after Pirates of the Caribbean 4, a week after Hangover II (which really killed KFP 2 at the box office so far in the States), and now you have X-Men First Class that just released.

    Not to mention that Kung Fu Panda 2 was an okay movie, it wasn’t better than the first film. The other movies seem to have better stories, or at least have better interests for people to go see. Another thing, the other movies mentioned are not forcing people to see it in 3-D, as DreamWorks really try to get people to view their movies in that format. You get to save money by viewing a 2D movie, and with it being interesting if possible.

    The international revenue will help KFP 2, and Jeffrey Katzenberg will get to breathe easier, knowing that an audience is still interested in Po, Tigress, and the Forgetful Four.

    • Mike

      More like the Forgettable Four, if KFP2 is the standard.

  • A.C. the actor

    I wonder if the quality of Dreamworks’ other sequels have anything to do with American audiences not seeing KFP2. While I thought Shrek 4 was decent, I felt like it was incredibly unnecessary and that they should’ve just stopped after 2. I think audiences have picked up that Dreamworks sequels–with the exception of Shrek 2–are either bad, incredibly unnecessary, or both.

    It’s a shame. I mean you can argue that sequels are unnecessary by nature, but as far as unnecessary sequels go? KFP2 was really good and felt like it deserved to be made. After I left the theatre I was not asking the question, “that was kinda cute, but why?”

    I’m really glad it’s doing well overseas. This well-executed movie is being watched and appreciated, and it deserves to succeed.

  • Scarabim

    The movie is visually striking, but I had a hard time caring about Po’s backstory. I guess I just don’t like the character enough.

    PLUS I kept wondering about Tai Lung. That’s what Dreamworks gets for killing off an intriguing semi-villain and giving no real answer to what happened to him. (And if he IS dead, then damn it, I don’t want him to be).

  • Brian Kidd

    To be honest, I didn’t find KFP2 to be very good. I thought it was visually striking, but the characters this time around were paper-thin and the story was unengaging. I mean, what exactly did the villain want? Being angry at your parents isn’t a very solid impetus for killing people and taking over a city. The jokes fell flat, too. It was a big disappointment to me, since I really enjoyed the first movie quite a bit.

  • andreas Wessel-Therhorn

    While I agree that sequels are often unnecessary, I found this one to be very entertaining. I’d have enjoyed it just for the Peacock animation alone.Also loved the use of AE and traditional animation for the flashbacks.Its sometimes unfathomable what people will go and see. That this sequel would be beat by the entirely unnecessary second helping of a bad fratboy ‘comedy’ was disappointing, just as we on PATF were disappointed to be outperformed by a rodent sequel…
    in a bad economy like this, the policy of betting on premium priced tickets for 3D engagements seems badly judged though. Families cant afford to shell out that much money to see a movie, especially with the glut of cg offerings.

  • Sardonic Tuba

    The real question is why Amid seems so pleased by this.

    • amid

      How do I seem pleased by reporting basic factual data about a film’s performance? This post was even more reserved than Box Office Mojo which reported that KFP2 was “battered in its second weekend.”

  • Skeptical

    Amid, your bias against DreamWorks’ is well known, though the attempts to mangle the data to support your bias in this case is a transparent. KFP2 is doing massively better than films treated as hits on Cartoon Brew (like Rango), and it’s actually NOT the worst domestically performing DreamWorks’ movie in recent years. It’s at $100 million after 10 days. Megamind was at $88 million at the same time, HTTYD was at $92 million, Madagascar was right at $100 million. MVA was slightly ahead at $104 million. Oops, there goes that bright theory. (And to compare things to this year’s crop of animation, Rio was at $80 million, Rango and Hop at about $68 million each at the same point).

    KFP2 is putting up domestic numbers that are the envy of the makers of Hop, Rango, Rio, Gnomeo, and Hoodwinked 2. Sony would die to have an animated film that was so ‘weak’ in north America.

    When all the worldwide grosses are in, KFP2 will likely be a massive hit, bringing in far more money than Megamind and MvA. It’s also a critical success, though you wouldn’t know that from reading the Brew. Audiences love it, and it will likely sell well on dvd.

    Amid, people don’t come here for financial analysis, and for good reason — you’re a little too strident and not nearly impartial enough. But I’m curious what you, as a self-appointed critic, actually thought of KFP2 as a film? Do you have an opinion, or are you only interested in data mining?

    • Ethan

      In think Amid is only interested in selling Disney/Pixar marketing books, also known as art books. Not a chance he’ll give his opinion about a film competing with them.

      Yes, I’m just teasing you Amid, did it work ?
      Come on, a review. Tell us it sucked.

  • amid

    Skeptical – You can claim that my “strong overseas, weak in US” analysis is mangling the data, but every major Hollywood industry source from Deadline to Box Office Mojo supports the idea that the film isn’t doing well in the US.

    Kung Fu Panda 2 is a disappointment domestically because of the expectations set up for it as one of DreamWorks’ franchise properties. Its current projection to earn $160-185M domestically is unexpectedly low compared to the $215M that the original grossed in a pre-3D environment. The fact that the majority of audiences have avoided the 3-D also points to a long-term issue for DreamWorks which has touted 3-D as a key to higher grosses.

  • Skeptical

    Amid, parroting other websites, besides being a waste of your reader’s time, doesn’t excuse making false claims, like KFP2 being “the weakest performing DreamWorks’ movie in years.” The data shows it’s not. I have the feeling that, if DreamWorks were a studio you liked and respected, you’d joyfully trot out the data showing that the other ‘insider’ websites got the story wrong.

    And why you would want to join in on the breathless weekend-by-weekend micro analysis of box office returns, where every movie is treated as some surprise hit or staggering failure, is beyond me. Do you really want to be Nikki Finke and Deadline Hollywood?

    I come here to see interesting animation, both current and historical, that I might not find elsewhere, and to read thoughtful analysis about content and the content creators. You’re pretty good at that stuff. You’re not so good at this kind of piece, where your bias and your snarkiness shines through a little too brightly. And like everyone else, if I want to study the numbers, I’m already going to Box Office Mojo and other sites that specialize in that stuff, so I don’t need a half-baked rehash here.

    Again, have you seen the film, and if you have, what did you think? Or is Jerry the only Brewmaster who is willing to give a personal opinion on big-budget mainstream animated features?

  • victoria

    I watch Kung Fu Panda2 and I enjoyed it, but I insisted on the 2D release, theres no way I’m paying a billion dollars just to rent some stupid glasses and give myself a bad headache from looking through them.

  • Justin

    I can’t believe I find myself defending Amid, but in this case this about the most unbiased report he possibly could have given. KFP2′s domestic earnings are incredibly disappointing, especially with how well received the first movie was. While its total earnings to date are respectable compared to other recent Dreamworks releases, the greater than 50% drop from last weekend has to be a little concerning, especially with many more family films scheduled to come out in the coming weeks.

  • The Gee

    I don’t think Amid’s highlighting of this is heavy-handed either.

    It’s cool that the non-domestic market is keeping KFP2 afloat. And, I read a press release touting the IMAX showings as being positive. But, it opened with a less than fantastic Memorial Day weekend….to nattering nabobs and theater owners, that means more to them that to you or to me.

    The thing with the domestic market is that there’s a lot of other Big movies to be released this summer. If KFP2 doesn’t stay afloat then it is going to get replaced in a lot of theaters with the next big potential hit.

    I’m not sure if it also works that way outside of the US or if theaters stick with releases longer. But, even with Multi-plexes, there are a lot of other 3D movies that will premiere continually through this month and next. Regardless of whether they are good or not, they are anticipated. If they fail, they’ll be panned and roasted like this flick.
    So it goes, ya know.

  • Ethan

    *inhale* *hold* *exhale* inner peace…

    Okay, I’m not making this up:

    Weekend Box Office Report: Tangled Stays Strong
    Weekend Box Office Report: Tangled Will Top Tarzan
    Box Office Report: Tangled on Top

    Both Tangled and KFP2 made 68M in 5 days. In the second weekend, Tangled dropped 55%, KFP2 dropped 49%. No mention of either points as a failure for Tangled’s domestic box office, but making each exact point on KFP2. Tangled production cost was 260M, while KFP2 was 150M. No, Tangled didn’t “tumble”, Tangled wasn’t “weak”.

    Worldwide, here’s the positive data about KFP2:

    In China, KFP2 has the highest foreign opening of all time, animated or not. It’s beating the previous record holder by 50%. It made 48M in 8 days, KFP1 made 26M in it’s whole run. In the other major territories it’s significantly over-tracking KFP1, by as much as 70% in Russia and 60% in S-Korea. It’s also the highest opening for an animated film ever in many of those territories. This is not a footnote “blah records blah”. Those are major achievements. UAE is not important, it’s minuscule. China, Russia and S-Korea are huge.

    It made 85M first week in only 11 territories, it’s important to note that the strongest territories will be opening in the next few weeks, including France, UK, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Australia which are historically strong with animated films. Japan and Italy are opening in 2 months, also strong territories. That 125M is a lot more impressive when you actually know that. It’ll get bigger.

    If KFP3 is canceled because they focused on the domestic box office, I swear I’ll become the second grumpiest poster in the history of cartoon brew! The first will always remain Amid, of course, can’t beat the master.

  • James E. Parten

    Time, gentlemen, please!

    The problem with Amid’s reportage is not any particular bias, real or imagined. It’s his sources, who seem ready to pounce on anything that suits their fancy or confirms their particular biases.

    The international markets are burgeoning in a way that the US market is not. People all over the world are going to the movies in record numbers–and it’s the American pictures that are, as always and ever, the most popular.

    “Kung Fu Panda 2″ is not the only picture that is finding rosier box-office abroad. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is also doing far better in foreign locations than it is on American shores.

    But this is no new phenomenon. Does anybody remember “Baywatch”? That television series did not play profitably in the US, and even had to go into first-run syndication here, after it was unceremoniously canned by its network. Yet it was a major success in Europe, and made David Hasselhoff a star over there.

    As for the fact that fifty-six percent of the audience prefers KFP2 in “old-fashioned” 2-D–that only serves to confirm what Jerry Beck has been saying on This Here Blog for lo these many months. 3-D is a fad, and the Great American Public is waking up to that fact. They are coming to the conclusion that it is not worth the surcharges to pay several extra bucks per admission, receive throwaway spectacles that darken the picture and detract noticeably from the experience of seeing a movie, and have to take headache-grapplers afterwards!

  • Alissa

    Really? The theater was packed when we went to see KFP2 this weekend. Not that it says much. Just a bit surprising.

  • http://n/a FOGHEAD LONGLEGS

    You know what? I’m not an accountant. After the initial, beautiful short sequence in the credits, an After Effects hommage to Lotte Reiniger, and the pleasant enough opening nod to “inner peace” being chanted in an Asian (sic: Oriental, as in “the culture of the past”)atmosphere, then the manic fighting, spinning, flipping, and flying began ad nauseum and I walked out. Too much with too little meaning, that is to say, overkill. Plus, the obnoxious, cocky Jack Black attitude & posing was incongruous in that Asian setting; it made no sense. Imagine that; a film that just wasn’t appealing, had too much of the special effects and too little of the good script writing, and it was made by Dreamworks!! Hard to believe. Why are so many on this treadmill, as if we must seriously consider every single animated feature worthy of our precious time, money, & energy. Why? Have we all caught up already on our Hitchcock, Wilder, Ford, Kubrick, Bergman, Kurosawa, Allen, Renoir, Fellini, Marx Bros,Polanski,Pekinpah ?
    I doubt it. We’re all acting like lemmings, hypnotized by these lousy sequels, as if they’re ALL worth it; they’re NOT. Wake up & return to great cinema.

    • Ethan

      You went to see a Dreamworks film (which you hate), with Jack Black (which you hate), knowing it’s a sequel (which you hate), and wasted all this money (which is precious to you), and walked out in the first act. You know nothing about the actual screenplay, and you hated it anyway.

      If you were being sarcastic, that was very funny! Unless you’re American, it’s not funny at all if you’re American :)

  • Lilo

    Yawn. I’m sick of Hollywood crying about revenues when it’s their fault that these blockbusters are so ungodly expensive. Maybe if KFP2 didn’t cost $150 million to make (let alone whatever the marketing budget is) they could be satisfied with its gross – at $100 million so far and counting, it’s already far from a flop.

    • Funkybat

      Seriously. KFP2 will be a profit-engine, even if it “only” makes $150M-$200M in it’s U.S. theatrical release. New release movies, especially “kids movies” in particular, make boku bucks on DVD. While “Hangover II” will probably sell a lot of DVDs/Blu Rays, Kung Fu panda will sell more because parents/relatives will buy it for kids to watch over and over, while movies like “Hangover” will be more popular with Netflix/Redbox than actual sales.

      I think it’s kind of ridiculous for any studio to expect every animated film to make $250M+ domestic, those are rare and special films that connect to a wide swath of people and become pop-culture phenomena, like “The Lion King” or “Toy Story.” If Kung Fu Panda 2 does $200 mil domestic in the final tally, I’d call that a success. And that’s before we even get to home video…

  • Matt Sullivan

    Henry Ford knew you can’t produce a car that’s too expensive for the common man and expect to stay in business. Pity that lesson has been lost on Hollywood.

    I will never go to another 3D movie again. 20 dollars for a movie ticket is outrageous. Making films in 3D to force people to pay extra is just despicable business.

    Burn Hollywood, BURN. I get more entertainment from You Tube amateurs than your over-hyped drek.

  • Ethan

    I don’t understand why everyone in the media talk only about the American box office. When you look at a USA map, is it written “here there be dragons” all around the borders ?

    I think you’ll have to strike those signs and write “here there be pandas”, because it’s well on it’s way to 600 millions worldwide.

  • Tired

    The movie sucked for one reason. Po was weaker in this film then the last. This fact alone insulted the intelligence of the audience, who wanted to see the dragon warrior that defeated Tai Lung, and got one of the three stooges instead. Tigress, who was defeated by Tai Lung, was beating Po up through out the movie. How is this possible when Po defeated Tai lung and Tai Lung defeated Tigress? While I am supposed to suspend reality at the door, I don’t suspend common sense. They dumbed down and weakened his character because had they not, it would have been more difficult to make a sequel. I mean hey, he is the dragon warrior, what more can he do? OH, find inner peace now, which doesn’t translate to redirecting kinetic energy by the way, something he had supposedly mastered anyway in the first movie, i.e redirecting the power of his enemies attacks.

    This movie insulted the intelligence of a lot of people, people who simply don’t even have the energy to complain about it.