What animated film can beat ‘Zootopia’ at the 2016 box office?

Disney’s ‘Zootopiahas crossed the $1 billion mark. One animated flick may gross even more this year.

Their own mammal metropolis isn’t the only place Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps have won over; the bunny-and-fox duo have also dominated the world, with Disney’s Zootopia reaching the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office earlier this week.

It’s the top-earning animated feature of 2016 thus far, well on its way to making twice as much as Kung Fu Panda 3, which is at #2 among animated films this year.

Will Zootopia be king of the 2016 jungle? Or can another animated flick top it?

Box office experts agree: Finding Dory is likely to surpass Zootopia’s $1 billion+ to become the top-earning animated movie of 2016.

A small, unscientific poll of mine also shows that for parents, Finding Dory is the most-anticipated animated film yet to be released this year. It is the most-often mentioned movie from the handful of parent bloggers I emailed asking what animated film they and their kids are most looking forward to. “My family and I are eager to see Finding Dory this month because Finding Nemo is one of our favorites, including just about every Disney Pixar movie too,” Amy Bellgardt, creator of MomSpark.net and mother of two boys told me via email.

Outside of superhero fare, 2016 has thus far been a rough year for franchises, with audiences turning rather anti-sequel, or perhaps having no tolerance for sequels that just aren’t much good. Zoolander 2, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and Divergent Series: Allegiant have all flopped. Kung Fu Panda 3 wasn’t a total failure, but it has somewhat underperformed, earning less than each of the two other films in the franchise.

But as David Mumpower of Box Office Prophets told us via email, “2016’s anti-sequel consumer behavior shouldn’t impact Finding Dory.”

For seven years, Finding Nemo reigned as Pixar’s highest grossing film, until Toy Story 3 came along. Last year’s Inside Out is the only other film from the studio to surpass Nemo’s box office tally. It still stands as the seventh highest-grossing animated movie of all time at the worldwide box office.

Finding Nemo remains one of Pixar’s most beloved films, frequently topping or nearly topping both fan and critic rankings of the studio’s movies, so Finding Dory will bring the solid established audience not only of Pixar devotees but also fans of Nemo especially.

With Finding Dory coming out 13 years after Nemo, it’s not quite at the point where there’s a sizable number of people who saw it as kids who now have kids of their own to take to the movies — as was the case with The Lion King’s massively successful 2011 re-release — but “it’s pretty close,” Bruce Nash, founder and publisher of The Numbers, pointed out.

Finding Dory topping Zootopia’s gross would make the Pixar sequel the fifth animated movie to cross the $1 billion mark after Toy Story 3, Frozen, Minions, and Zootopia.

The creators of those animation box office champions all have new films coming out this year: Disney’s got Zootopia and Moana. Disney•Pixar has Finding Dory opening a week from now. And Illumination Entertainment, the makers of Minions and the Despicable Me movies, will release The Secret Life of Pets next month.

Secret Life is a kind of Toy Story for dogs and cats and bunnies, showing us what goofy antics our pets are up to when we’re not looking. Zootopia proved that another non-sequel, original concept could join Frozen in the $1 billion club, albeit with the proven brand recognition of Disney.

“Secret Life of Pets can also be a success mid-summer, although $1 billion is too much to expect from it,” Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru said via email.

Just how much will Secret Life’s family relations to Minions boost its box office success? It’ll help, though the box office experts I consulted have divergent thoughts about just how much it’ll help.

Secret Life’s invocation of the film’s connection to Illumination’s uber-popular little yellow guys with the words “from the humans behind Despicable Me” is, according to Mumpower, “one of the strongest marketing slogans imaginable right now. Putting that note in the trailer spikes the box office dramatically.”

Meanwhile, Pandya said, “Tapping into the Minions fan base is a smart starting point,” and Nash said efforts to make mainstream audiences aware of the Minions connection “won’t make a huge deal of difference.”

Nash also noted that DreamWorks Animation wasn’t able to translate the popularity of its Shrek films into success for the movies that followed the first couple of Shrek installments. How to Train Your Dragon and the Madagascar franchise is where DreamWorks later found box office success, though the four Shrek movies still top the animation studio’s list of highest grossing films.

Though Mumpower has confidence in the power of Secret Life’s link to Minions, he added, “I suspect that Secret Life of Pets would have succeeded if it had come first [among Illumination’s films]. The attachment humans have for their pets fosters continued interest in such concepts, and this movie in particular has a terrific ad campaign. The prim [poodle] rocking out to heavy metal is a perfect animated comedy gag.”

Universal Studios, which is distributing the film, is tapping into that dog-lover and cat-lover audience with a huge partnership with PetSmart.

Looking back at Zootopia, what accounted for its success? It was a film praised by both critics and audiences, and it had a long stretch of time without any competition from other family movies.* Moana has the strong potential to find success for similar reasons, along with the Disney brand recognition. It hits theaters on Thanksgiving weekend, following Trolls’ early November opening and ahead of the Christmas week premiere of Sing, Illumination Entertainment’s movie about animals in an American Idol-esque competition. So Moana doesn’t have quite as much space to itself as Zootopia did, but it’s safe to bet it’ll be the reigning animated movie of the holiday season. Moana, ostensibly introducing the House of Mouse’s first Polynesian princess, features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Nash does not expect Miranda’s involvement to be a box office boost in and of itself, despite the massive popularity of Miranda’s Hamilton. Disney musicals are already recognized for their quality tunes, so the film already has its draw for the music (which we may be hearing for the first time in the trailer set to hit the web this Sunday).

Kung Fu Panda 3:The biggest phothole ever

One of the other anticipated movies of 2016, which surprisingly didn’t fall under the “Superhero” category was the third installment of ‘the-ever-so-popular’ Kung Fu Panda Franchise.

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Though ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘ was in the making right after the previous installment had hit the screens, but it is now that we finally get to watch it. I would start off by saying that I did enjoy it and it was thoroughly entertaining. Though it’s not quite in the ranks of it’s two predecessors, it does not disappoint.

Well we’re in an era, where it’s quite clear that animation movies are not necessarily only for “kidos”.

With the recent likes of ‘Frozen‘, ‘Inside Out’ and the quite recent ‘Zootopia‘, Disney has clearly shown that animation movies can completely be in the adult realm without actually having to lose it’s ‘kid-factor’.

The one fundamental component that these movies had in common and literally was the mainstay of these movies was it’s writing.

The writers’ carried out their job with such finese that the infamous term ‘plothole’ didn’t find any base.

But that’s not the case in ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘!

I’m not sure if it was a result of lazy writing or the product of lack of determination, there was a huge plothole in ‘KFP 3′ that actually altered my whole peception. So here it is:

So quite in the beginning of the movie, after Po and his father’s reunion, Po’s father (Li) proudly states that he is coming from a secret Panda village, which quite obviously means that no damn person knows the whereabouts of the secret village.

Then eventually Li takes Po and Ping to the village, and Po himself didn’t know where the village was, so there was no possible way that Po could have said the whereabouts of the village to Tigress, and since there was no much words exchanged between Li and Tigress there was no way Tigress could have known where the village was.

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But after Kai attacks the Jade Palace, Tigress conveniently finds out The Secret Panda Village just in time to inform Po and the other Pandas’ that Kai was coming for them. This was not at all possible and was a result of extremely lazy writing. If Tigress would have not been able to find out the village then Kai would have easily dealt with the pandas’ and things would have turned out quite different, but this plothole conveniently works out in favour of the Pandas’.

This is simply one of the biggest plotholes I’ve ever seen in a movie.

But if you don’t mind this heck of a plothole and if you’re quite okay with an overly melodramatic climax, then you’ll surely love this movie.

Have you watched ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘? What is your opinion about it?

Did Disney’s marketing of “Zootopia” do justice to the film?

When a film makes over $70 million in an opening weekend, it is hard to argue that the marketing team behind a movie did a subpar job. In all fairness to Walt Disney Animation, the trailers and tactics used for this movie worked on a level, by creating a fun and seemingly harmless atmosphere around the film. This likely increased the level of interest in kids, or families with children, but the fact of the matter was, there had not been a movie targeted to children since “Kung Fu Panda 3” in January.

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However, the critical success of the film snuck up on many Disney fans, myself included. Among friends and other people I had talked to, most thought the movie was going to be “Dreamworks quality” or a return to the early 2000s for Disney. Some thought the ceiling for the movie, based solely on its marketing, was going to be more in line with “Bolt,” a film that is fun, but ultimately does not come up in conversations about great Disney movies.

After this week though, it is hard to argue that case anymore. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%, a Metacritic score of 78%, and a $73.7 million opening weekend box office, the film is an unbelieveable success for Disney Animation. With “Moana” still on the horizon, it is hard to argue against the idea that Disney Animation is in Renaissance 2.0 mode, with “Wreck-It-Ralph,” “Tangled,” “Frozen,” and “Big Hero 6” representing a run in Disney history that stacks up against any decade in Disney history (and we’re only 6 years in).

Still, the subject matter of “Zootopia” and the genre choices were the most shocking about the film. With many thinking that the movie would be a simple “talking animals movie,” it instead mixed elements of mystery, crime comedy, and solid commentary on the current state of police activity. The film found a way to walk the tightrope between portraying police officers in a negative light, while maintaining that some bad apples do not create a broken system. Its mystery elements harkened back to “The Great Mouse Detective” and “The Rescuers,” but held onto comedy aspects one would expect to find in a film like “Ocean’s 11” or “The Big Lebowski.”

This is no doubt a very different film than we expected, and we have to place some of the blame on Disney. It’s possible they didn’t realize that their film would resonate so strongly with young adults or with the politically charged climate in America right now. Yet, the film that was sold to us lowered expectations to the point that many thought the film would be Disney Animation’s first misstep in its run. What we got were cute scenes of sloths, that ultimately had little to do with the film as a whole.

The problem that the marketing presents though, is that it tells audiences that unless Disney embraces the schtick of “The Minions” or low stakes animation stories, that audiences won’t show up. I think audiences are more grown up than that. If we knew it was a mystery/noir film with comedy, audiences still would have shown up. We would have loved to see a Disney that would lampoon itself, make pop culture jokes, and engage with the zeitgeist. These are the elements that will let this film endure, and some members of the audience were already saying this is their favorite Disney movie in years.

These aspects of the film will be what we remember, and the marketing campaign will fade away with time. Still, it would be nice for Disney to treat its audience with some respect, as opposed to going for the lowest common denominator to bring in audiences. Even though Disney has always been for kids, they don’t have to treat their entire audience like one.

Zootopia” is currently in theaters. It stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Tommy Chong, Shakira, and Alan Tudyk.

“Kung Fu Panda 3″ Entertains And Inspires

HOLLYWOOD—Most people spend their entire lifetime figuring out who they really are. “Kung Fu Panda 3″ tells a self-discovery story so universal because it depicts an experience everyone is bond to go through in their lives sooner or later; yet, a story so unique because this journey is not only about the clumsily cute panda’s personal realizations and growths, it also highlights an important conversation about the differences and similarities between the Eastern and Western culture.

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In the movie, our hero Po, the panda who happens to be a Kung Fu genius, learns the essence of Kung Fu by exploring who he really is and what it means to be a part of a family as well as a community. Therefore, acquires the ultimate power in Kung Fu to defend his village from being attacked by an evil Ox.

While the part where he rejoins his family and only becomes stronger because of the community he belongs to exhibits traditional Eastern family value, the other part where he defends the village against the evil falls into the classic Western type of save-the-world superhero genre.

Through Po’s journey, the movie manages to unite the collectivism in Eastern culture and the individualistic heroism in Western culture under the universal theme of self-discovery and family value.

The first Kung Fu Panda movie emphasized on Po’s self-realization of whom he needs to be, followed by the second movie, in which he overcomes his self-doubts and starts to head into the right direction of becoming the hero he’s destined to be. Now the third movie in the franchise advances Po’s journey even more. It provides Po with chance of going back to where he’s originally from, lets him find his real identity, and ultimately hits home by giving out a perfect explanation of why he is who he is.

While “Kung Fu Panda 3″ aligns well in this franchise in terms of Po’s character arc, it also deepens the story greatly because up until now, the Kung Fu Panda series has successfully completed its own exploration towards the three basic philosophical questions of life: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?”

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What’s better is that those stodgy messages underneath the Kung Fu Panda series are conveyed through a straightforward, but engaging enough story of a dumpling-eating and Kung Fu-loving animated panda’s journey of finding himself. The fun, light and comedic tone of it further helps the movie become an entertaining as well as inspiring ride for people of all ages around the globe.

Therefore, by finding the common ground between the East and the West, “Kung Fu Panda 3″ makes an undoubted case in proving that this franchise of DreamWorks truly is an inspiration for US-China film co-productions; by telling a relatable story essentially about love and growth that speaks to all human beings, it has no difficulty at all in captivating a global audience.

Trailer Talk: ‘Zootopia’

Movie trailers are like free samples at Costco: the good ones excite you and leave you wanting more, while the bad ones make you cringe. Each week, A&E columnist Matthew Fernandez will dissect one movie trailer and analyze the Hollywood fare to come.

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Disney has a penchant for zany characters and a magic power to make the world fall in love with every single one of them. It’s given us an ice princess with an infuriatingly catchy song, a ham-handed building wrecker who jumps through video games and a pillowy healthcare robot that fights crime and gives fist bumps (“bah-la-la-la”), which begs the question: What will it think up next?

How about a rabbit traffic cop? Alright, I’ll take it.

Disney released the second U.S. trailer for its new movie “Zootopia” on New Year’s Eve, which revealed more about the upcoming film’s plot. The film takes place in a world of anthropomorphic animals that is suddenly plagued by an outbreak of rabid, mindless behavior from its citizens. Enter Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, the first rabbit police officer, eager but undervalued due to her small size and unimposing species in comparison to the tigers, rhinos and elephants on the force. In order to prove that she is a capable officer, Hopps decides to solve the case on her own.

The idea behind “Zootopia,” a city where carnivores and herbivores coexist peacefully, lends itself to interesting possibilities. In no way is it a new concept – “Dinotopia” and “Kung Fu Panda” are only two of many examples – but the potential for it to be a great movie lies in Disney’s characteristic imagination.

I’d like to see how Disney addresses some of the issues that the citizens of Zootopia would have, like what animals eat and how carnivores survive without becoming murderers. The trailer shows food like donuts and ice cream, but is that ice cream vegan or are they eating something that could have come out of a neighbor?

Like most of Disney’s recent movies, “Zootopia” seeks to cater to older audiences as well as children. Much like the movie’s first trailer, the New Year’s Eve trailer reuses a painfully accurate and clever joke in which the Department of Motor Vehicles is run by sloths. Most people, myself included, know the agonizing pit of despair that is the DMV, where the minutes crawl by with bureaucratic slowness.

Even though the gag was already shown in the first trailer, it’s like a Twinkie – it never gets old. I’ve seen both trailers multiple times and giggled like a 5-year-old every time.

There is also a quick jab at nudist colonies and the naturalist movement, but the best joke comes at the end of a trailer with a reference to “The Godfather,” complete with Marlon Brando drawl, tuxedo rose and daughter’s wedding.

As a cinephile and lover of pop culture, I replayed this part at least three times – “The Godfather” Easter egg was the trailer’s biggest treat for me. The attention to detail, loving treatment of an iconic character and witty unexpectedness of the reference hints at more great nuggets to come. This kind of pop culture awareness that caters to adults yet remains family-friendly is very promising, maybe even signaling a shift away from the more subtle, dirty jokes that are often hidden in other Disney films.

The trailer signals that the film has the most to offer in its visual gags. In a world of animals of all shapes and sizes, there is limitless comedic potential, and if the trailer is a good indication of the film to come, then this comedic gold mine has not escaped the eyes of the filmmakers. The considerations are demonstrated practically in the city’s infrastructure like different-sized doors on the train and in the film’s overall silliness – for example, a mouse’s car gets blown away by the wind, and the tiny shrew version of Don Corleone is named Mr. Big.

Based on what the audiences have been shown, the film seems to be standard Disney. There are cutesy characters, high-quality visuals and the big moral underpinning that aims to teach kids how to be good people. It looks to be a solid film, but with many big animal-centric animated films to be released this year, like “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Finding Dory,” will “Zootopia” be able to stand out in the crowd? When stacked up against the competition, I think “Zootopia” has a good chance to rival the success of “Kung Fu Panda,” but might not be strong enough to contend with Pixar’s might.

‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ Is A Merely Good Entry In A Great Franchise

While visually gorgeous and generally entertaining, this third installment of the DreamWorks Animation DWA -4.00% franchise is a comedown from the first two superb entries.

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The Box Office:

Kung Fu Panda 3 has the distinction of basically being the biggest movie ever to open domestically in the week of January. It was originally slotted for December 23rd of last year before being first shifted to March 18th of this year and then being bounced up to January 29th. The current release date is timed to the Chinese New Year. Said holiday falls on February 8th, and of course the best time to open a movie is the weekend before a holiday, since the presumption is that the holiday bump will lessen the second weekend drop.

The film is indeed opening day-and-date with China and a handful of other territories (Russia, South Korea, etc.) before opening over the rest of the world in early March. So the would-be box office narrative for this one won’t be written until long after its domestic debut. That’s tended to be a problem for DreamWorks. Be it Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 2, or How to Train Your Dragon 2, DWA has had an issue where their domestic opening weekend has been blasted as unduly soft, to actual “their stock gets dinged” consequences, only to have said films become monster hits worldwide long after most of us have stopped paying attention.

Both Kung Fu Panda 2 and How To Train Your Dragon 2 were written off as domestic disappointments after earning well below the domestic totals of their predecessors only to handily top $600 million+ worldwide. I honestly don’t know to what extent audiences are still jazzing for another Kung Fu Panda movie over four years after the last one and with 79 episodes of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness running from 2011 to 2014, nor do I know how the January debut strategy will play out. But I do know that, especially considering this $140 million sequel is a Chinese co-production (DWA gets 40% of the Chinese box office instead of 25%, and there is basically a separately animated version specifically for China) and that it plays in much of the world six weeks after it opens in America, I’d advise all of us not to pull the fire alarm if this one doesn’t quite reach the $60m Fri-Sun/$48m Fri-Sun heights of its predecessors on its domestic debut.

The Review:

It may read as an insult for me to compare Kung Fu Panda 3 to X-Men: The Last Stand or Spider-Man 3. But both respective comic book sequels had the misfortune of being merely okay installments that were proceeded by two critically-acclaimed predecessors. They have their issues (Spider-Man 3 is aggressively campy, X-Men 3 focuses on Wolverine instead of Cyclops), but taken on their own they were relatively enjoyable, occasionally ambitious popcorn entertainments. The biggest problem with Kung Fu Panda 3 is that Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 were so obscenely good that this merely okay installment feels like a huge let down.

Some plot: The film picks up on Kung Fu Panda 2‘s cliffhanger, with the discovery that Po’s father (Bryan Cranston) survived the massacre of the panda clans and is now aware that his son (Jack Black) survived as well. Said reunion comes at an awkward time, with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman, once again the vocal MVP of this franchise) announcing his retirement from teaching and anointing Po as the new instructor of the Furious Five. But when the evil Kai (J.K. Simmons) escapes from the underworld and begins defeating various kung fu masters, Po discovers that only a kung fu warrior who is a master of chi can defeat this threat. Can Po embrace his newfound panda family and master the required skills necessary to defeat this new villain?

The film is a visual marvel, with DreamWorks once again proving that they are the absolute best when it comes to using 3D in animation to enhance their visual storytelling. It’s worth the price of 3D admission for the imagery alone. And with all of the talk about how various comic book movies and television shows are finally embracing the fantastical elements of their source material, it should be noted that Kung Fu Panda 3 is a movie that, with little hand-holding, begins with a blow-out fight between two warriors in the afterlife. The opening sequence is a corker, but it also highlights the film’s core weakness, which is that its villain is ill-defined and its arc will be merely a variation on what we’ve seen before.

The first two films had wonderfully fleshed out and three-dimensional villains. Ian McShane’s would-be Anakin Skywalker and his emotional beef with Dustin Hoffman’s would-be Obi Wan Kenobi added real oomph to the otherwise conventional “fish out of water becomes the proverbial chosen one” narrative. And Kung Fu Panda 2 basically beat We Need To Talk About Kevin to the punch, painfully humanizing a tormented peacock (Gary Oldman) whose parents were forced to cast him away after he committed an act of genocide. J.K. Simmons is fine as the ancient evil spirit who escapes back into the world and begins collecting the “chi” (souls) of the remaining kung fu masters, but he is barely fleshed out and comes off as a glorified villain of the week.

And said villain’s “slowly making his way to Po and his friends so Po better get ready” ticking clock scenario is basically a retread of the first film. It is clear that returning Jennifer Nelson Yuh and new co-director Alessandro Carloni, along with returning screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, have attempted to craft a lighter, less violent, and less psychologically nuanced picture, but the end result is one that retreads the general narrative of the first film (Po must get prepared before a rampaging villain arrives in his neck of the woods) while basically repeating Po’s emotional journey from the second film (Po’s attempt to master chi is an inferior variation on his quest for inner peace in the second film).

While Po’s search for inner peace had a narrative through line and satisfying conclusion (it was a natural byproduct of learning about his past and coming to terms with his tragic origins), this time around Chi is basically tantamount to Po learning new supernatural fighting skills. And what felt like a gut punch at the conclusion of the second film (Po’s biological father is alive) is played almost entirely for laughs. The notion of Po’s dad coming back to claim him should be heartbreaking due to our investment in his relationship with adapted father Ping (national treasure James Hong). But Ping’s displeasure with the possibility of losing his adopted son are played almost entirely for comic relief.

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The film has some interesting nuggets here and there, such as the idea of the pandas basically embracing habits typically associated with slovenly westerners in order to “master” chi and the pay off to said thread. And there is at least one terrific scene in the third act when Po’s two dads share a genuine heart-to-heart that brings to mind the emotional honesty that usually typifies this franchise. But the enterprise has a sense of weightlessness to it, feeling less like the next defining chapter in Po’s journey and more like a three-part episode of Legends of Awesomeness.

Now if it seems like I’m being overly negative on the film, it’s because I happen to adore the first two Kung Fu Panda movies. The first film was a shining light of awesomeness, a triumphant follow-up to the better-than-expected Over the Hedge that signaled that DreamWorks had snapped out of its post-Shrek slump and was ready to stand tall alongside Pixar and Walt Disney DIS -6.45%. And Kung Fu Panda 2 was not only my favorite film of 2011 but was, along with the much-better-than-it-needed-to-be Puss In Boots, a sign that DWA was taking a shot at the proverbial title. I’ve waited nearly five years for the third film and I wanted something a little weightier.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is merely a pretty good animated adventure with some soaring visuals. The vocal performances are spot-on per usual, and the film does end with an interesting new status quo. I like that they didn’t turn Kate Hudson’s flirty female panda into a love interest. I like the idea that Po is constantly surprised that his journey has yet another step. And for those merely wanting to take their kids to a high-energy, high-quality animated spectacular, it fits the bill without any of the more challenging concepts from the second film. But two great films followed by a merely good one feels like a letdown, however unfair that may be. So when I call Kung Fu Panda 3 the Godfather part III of the franchise that’s not entirely an insult. In essence, it is about as good as we all expected the first one to be back in 2008.

Kung Fu Panda 3 Directors Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh

It was eight years ago that audiences first met DreamWork Animation‘s lovable Kung Fu Panda, Po, and five years ago that we last saw the character (voiced by Jack Black) on the big screen. On January 29th, Po is back alongside the Furious Five (voiced by Jackie Chan, David Cross, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen) and about to come face to face with his birth father (Bryan Cranston). Unfortunately, the “Dragon Warrior” is also about to become targeted by a dangerous new foe, Kai (J.K. Simmons), who has powers and abilities unlike anything Po has ever faced before.

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ComingSoon.net got an early look at Kung Fu Panda 3 during a special press day on the DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale, California. There, we had the opportunity to chat with directors Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh as well as producer Melissa Cobb. Read on for their thoughts about the continuing the Kung Fu Panda legacy and check back soon as we’ll be sitting down with the film’s cast for a behind-the-scenes look at the January 29 release.

CS: It feels like each chapter in the Kung Fu Panda series has a certain element of growth for Po. Is figuring out what that is going to be the first step in building the story?

Jennifer Yuh: I think it is.

Alessandro Carloni: Yes, it usually is, but it also sometimes reveals itself through the making. The franchise is always based on self-empowerment. Po has to defeat the villain, but he also has to find out who he is and how to become a better person. In each movie, that is accomplished in a slightly different way. How do you phrase it? How do you spell it out? That sometimes reveals itself through the movie-making process.

Melissa Cobb: Yeah, it’s definitely an evolution. We have an idea of what we think it’s going to be, but, as you get farther into making the movie, it starts to tell you what it wants to be.

Jennifer Yuh: And it always begins with a character question when we’re coming up with the idea. What does that character need? What does that character want? We may not be able to articulate it in a nice, succinct sentence yet, but that journey that that character has to go through is something that guides us every single time. It’s always based on “What does Po need in this particular moment? What would Po do if he was surrounded by pandas for the very first time?” That grows and his journey becomes something that guide us.

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Melissa Cobb: We definitely started with something we knew, which was that his dad was going to come to this movie.

Jennifer Yuh: After the end of “Kung Fu Panda 2,” we knew the audience would be really mad if the dad didn’t show up.

Alessandro Carloni: Plus, coming face to face with your father connects to a universal theme about identity and about the search for self, which perfectly fits within the franchise.

CS: There’s also Po becoming a teacher, which seems like an important development for his character.

Jennifer Yuh: It’s also the thing that he’s the least suited to do. One of the things we love about Po is that he’s vulnerable. He’s someone that we can all identify with because he has those insecurities. He’s an outsider-feeling guy. He’s never comfortable in positions like that. You see him become this guy, this Kung Fu guy, and it’s important to ask, “What is that next step?” He’s always moving. When he becomes a teacher, he’s following a path spreads beyond himself.

Melissa Cobb: When you become a teacher, you’ve reached a point where you yourself have something to impart. For a character that’s so insecure, that’s a big step. To be good enough to teach others? That’s a big thing for him.

New ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ International Trailer Arrives with New Footage (and More Pandas)

Happy Holidays! I sincerely hope that everyone is enjoying themselves during this time of year and spending time with friends, family and loved ones. But as always, we still have a good amount of news to cover before the year is out. Some of it is stuff that just broke recently, while others are stories that slipped under our radar due to being very, very busy (Rotoscopers-related or otherwise). But without further ado, let’s get to our first news story of the week.

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In a few months, Kung Fu Panda 3 will officially mark the beginning of the 2016 year in animation (and yes, I’m choosing to ignore The Nut Job 2 and Norm of the North), and what better introduction to a very promising year for feature animation than the highly-anticipated third chapter in the Kung Fu Panda saga.

For those who want to satisfy their need for more footage – assuming you aren’t too afraid of spoilers to watch a trailer at all – than I give you the recent international trailer for Kung Fu Panda 3 below:

As you can see, there’s plenty of new footage and much of it expands upon what was only glimpsed at in previous trailers. Oh, and there’s lots of pandas too (although that one is obvious).

Kung Fu Panda 3 is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni from a screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. The film features the voice talents of 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 is Kate Hudson as Mei Mei, Bryan Cranston as Li, and J.K.Simmons as Kai.

Kung Fu Panda 3 Spoilers: First trailer released; Po and Li father- son tandem to be explored

Father and son reunited as the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 3 had been revealed showing Po and his father, Li’s first encounter. Together, they are set to defeat a new enemy by doing a seemingly impossible task of training a village of pandas.

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The chubby, fluffy, and bubbly Kung Fu maste, Po is back and he is set to be reunited with his long lost father but probably not as soon as fans expect. A trailer has been released for the newest sequel of Kung Fu Panda where Po and an older male panda, named Li, has come face to face.

They later figure that Po has lost his father, and Li, on the other hand, also lost his son “many many years ago”. Just when everybody’s heart started to beat faster with excitement, and thought that both Po and Li have already connected the dots, the two express their good lucks to each other in finding their lost family members and later headed to opposite directions.

The upcoming movie will reportedly witness the return of Jack Black as Po, Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, Lucy Liu as Viper, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, David Cross as Crane, and they are now joined by JK Simmons as Kai and Rebel Wilson as Mei Mei.
The movie will reportedly revolve around the father and son tandem of Po and Li as they try to defeat the villlain Kai by doing the seemingly impossible mission of training a village of pandas. “When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters.

But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas,” the synopsis reads.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is directed by Alessandro Carloni, and Jennifer Yuh, and written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. It is set to hit theaters in January 29, 2016.

‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Movie: Po Meets His Family, Creates A Panda Team to Battle Against A New Villain

If you think you have seen enough cuteness in one panda named Po, then you’d better brace yourselves for more cute pandas coming in “Kung Fu Panda 3.” The animated movie will see the return of Po, Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Crane, Viper, and Master Shifu as it hits theatres in 2016. Read on to learn more about this scoop.

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It has been nearly four years since the last “Kung Fu Panda” aired in theatres and now, the movie is gearing up for its third installment, as Po meets his long-lost Panda father in “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

The plot for the sequel has been released and will revolve around Po who will finally get the chance to meet his real father along with other Pandas. Now, this has not been quite a mystery for some fans, as “Kung Fu Panda 2” showed a village full of Pandas in its last clip even when Po believed that he was the only Panda left in the entire country after the town was burned to ashes.

Po will reunite with his father and Screen Rant revealed that Po and his father will travel to a “secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new characters.” Of course, the movie will not be complete without a villain to compete with. According to the outlet, a supernatural villain named Kai will defeat all of the Kung Fu masters in China, and Po decides to train his Panda brothers and creates a team to battle against Kai.

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Jack Black will be lending his voice for the movie once against as Po while Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, James Hong, Seth Rogen, and Randall Duk Kim will be back as voices behind their respective characters.

“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston and “Pitch Perfect” star Rebel Wilson will also be joining the sequel. Mads Mikkelsen, who was originally slated to do the voice role for Kai, has dropped from the project.

Kung Fu Panda 3” was also originally slated to be released in theatres on Dec. 23, 2015, but DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox have decided to move its release to Jan. 29, 2016 to give way to the release of the Disney movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which premieres on Dec. 18, The Hollywood Reporter said.