Kung Fu Panda (franchise)
|Kung Fu Panda|
|Films and television|
The Kung Fu Panda franchise from DreamWorks Animation, consists of two films: Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011). The first two were distributed by Paramount Pictures, while the third movie will be distributed by 20th Century Fox. Three shorts, Secrets of the Furious Five (2008), Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special (2010) and Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011), were also released. A television series for Nickelodeon television network, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, premiered in the fall of 2011.
The franchise, set in a fantasy wuxia genre version of ancient China populated by humanoid animals, features the adventures of Po Ping, a bumbling giant panda, who was improbably chosen as the prophesied Dragon Warrior. Although his status is initially doubted, Po proves himself worthy as he strives to fulfill his destiny and learn about his past with his new friends.
The film series has been highly acclaimed with both features being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as numerous Annie Awards while the television series has won multiple Emmy Awards. Furthermore, this acclaim is particularly enthusiastic in China, where the series is hailed as not only an excellent contribution to the wuxia genre, but for it for having an impressively knowledgeable understanding of Chinese culture and heritage for an American movie production. In addition, both films were the most successful animated feature film for their years and the second is currently the biggest worldwide box office success for a movie directed by a woman (Jennifer Yuh Nelson). A third film, Kung Fu Panda 3, is set to be released in 2015.
Film series 
Kung Fu Panda (2008) 
Po, a clumsy, overweight panda, is a kung fu fanatic who lives in the Valley of Peace and works in his goose father Mr. Ping's noodle shop, unable to realize his dream of learning kung fu. One day, a kung fu tournament is held for the elderly spiritual leader of the valley, Grand Master Oogway, to determine the identity of the Dragon Warrior, the one kung fu master capable of understanding the secret of the Dragon Scroll, which is said to contain the key to limitless power. Everyone in the valley expects the Dragon Warrior to be one of the Furious Five—Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, and Crane—a quintet of kung fu masters trained by Master Shifu to protect the valley. To everyone's surprise, Oogway chooses Po, who had accidentally stumbled into the tournament arena after arriving late.
Refusing to believe that Po can be the Dragon Warrior, Shifu subjects Po to torturous training exercises in order to discourage him into quitting. Determined to change himself into someone he himself can respect, Po perseveres in his training and befriends the Furious Five, who had previously mocked Po for his lack of skill in kung fu. Po soon learns that he must fight Tai Lung, an evil kung fu warrior who has escaped from prison to take revenge for being denied the Dragon Warrior, and despairs he will be unable to defeat him. However, Shifu discovers that Po is capable of martial arts when motivated by food, and successfully trains him to learn kung fu. After his training is complete, Po is given the Dragon Scroll, which he discovers to be blank. However, Po realizes that the key to limitless power lies within himself, allowing him to defeat Tai Lung and restore peace to the valley.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) 
Po now lives his dream as a kung fu master and protects the Valley of Peace alongside the Furious Five. However, he is thrown into internal conflict when he begins having flashbacks of his mother and learns from Mr. Ping that he was adopted as an infant. Shortly after, Po and the Five are sent on a mission to stop the evil peacock Lord Shen from using a newly developed weapon, the cannon, to conquer all of China and destroy kung fu tradition. Po remains tormented by thoughts of being abandoned by his real parents until he is guided by a wise old soothsayer to embrace his past, and remembers that his parents risked their lives to save him from Shen, who had set out to exterminate all pandas after learning of a prophecy that he would be defeated by "a warrior of black-and-white". Po achieves inner peace, which allows him to destroy Shen's new weapon, defeat Shen, and accept Mr. Ping as his father. However during the last scene of the movie it shows Po's biological father realizing his son is alive.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2015) 
Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, announced in 2010 that "Kung Fu Panda actually has 6 chapters to it." Kung Fu Panda 3 was officially confirmed in July 2012 by Bill Damaschke, chief creative officer for DWA.
The film will be made in China as a co-production between DreamWorks Animation and Oriental DreamWorks, a Shanghai based studio, founded in 2012 as a partnership between DreamWorks Animation and Chinese companies. One third of the film will be made in China, and the rest at DWA. This is the first time that any major American animated feature film has been co-produced with a Chinese firm. The filmmakers are working closely with Chinese censors to assure the film's acceptability to the state. Kung Fu Panda 3 was scheduled to be released on March 18, 2016. The film is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and produced by Melissa Cobb, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger with Guillermo del Toro as executive producer. Del Toro said in an interview that the antagonist is "the most formidable villain yet". On April 9, 2013, it was announced that the film's release date has been pushed up from March 18, 2016, to December 23, 2015. It was also announced that Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson will join the cast of the film.
Television series 
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness 
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness is an animated television series based on the Kung Fu Panda film series, set between the first two films. The show was originally intended to first air in 2010, but it was delayed and officially premiered on Nickelodeon on November 7, 2011. Of the series's voice cast, only Lucy Liu, Randall Duk Kim, and James Hong reprise their roles from the films as Viper, Oogway, and Mr. Ping. The first season, consisting of 26 episodes, ended on April 5, 2012, and the second season has began airing on September 26, 2012.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired (U.S. dates)|
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||26||September 19, 2011||April 5, 2012|
|2||26||April 6, 2012||2013|
Short films 
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (2008) 
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five is an animated short film that serves as a semi-sequel (or spin-off) to Kung Fu Panda and appears on a companion disc of the original film's deluxe DVD release. It was later broadcast on NBC on February 26, 2009, and is available as a separate DVD as of March 24, 2009. The film has a framing story of Po (in computer animation), telling the stories of his comrades in arms, the Furious Five, which are depicted in 2D cel animation.
Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special (2010) 
Kung Fu Panda Holiday (also known as Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special) is a 2010 television special that premiered on NBC on November 24, 2010. It tells a story of Po, who is assigned to host the annual Winter Feast by Master Shifu, despite his wishes to spend the holiday with Mr. Ping.
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011) 
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters is an animated short film that was released on December 13, 2011 as a special feature attached to the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD and Blu-ray. It tells the backgrounds of the masters of Gongmen City: Thundering Rhino, Storming Ox, and Croc.
Box office performance 
|United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Kung Fu Panda||June 6, 2008||$215,434,591||$416,309,969||$631,744,560||#108||#63||$130,000,000|||
|Kung Fu Panda 2||May 26, 2011||$165,249,063||$500,443,218||$665,692,281||#196||#59||$150,000,000|||
Critical reception 
|Kung Fu Panda||87% (167 reviews)||73% (33 reviews)|
|Kung Fu Panda 2||81% (164 reviews)||67% (31 reviews)|
Cast and characters 
- A dark gray cell indicates the character does not appear in the film, special, or T.V. series.
Video games 
- Kung Fu Panda is a video game loosely based on the first film, released by Activision in June 2008 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is a sequel to the video game Kung Fu Panda. It was published by Activision on November 5 and December 5, 2008 for the Nintendo DS and Wii, respectively.
- Kung Fu Panda World is a virtual world game released on April 12, 2010.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 is a video game that takes place after the events of the second film. It was developed and published by THQ on May 23, 2011, for Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360.
Arena show 
Directed by international entertainment director, Franco Dragone, best known for Le Rêve and House of Dancing Waters, Kung Fu Panda: Arena Spectacular is an in-progress live arena show, featuring characters from the Kung Fu Panda. Combining circus and Chinese acrobatics as well as arena show effects, the production was supposed to be released around the same time of Kung Fu Panda 2. After a multi city casting tour in 2010, the production went behind closed doors until late 2011 when a new set of audition dates were announced for the following year. However, shortly before the announced January 2012 auditions, it was announced that both Franco Dragone and DreamWorks had decided to postpone the live show's opening date, canceling all auditions.
Themed land 
A themed area Po's Kung Fu Garden was opened in 2012 at DreamWorks Experience, one of the themed lands at the Australian theme park Dreamworld. As of 2012 Po's Kung Fu Garden consists only of a small area featuring a Po photo opportunity. In late 2012, additional rides and attractions will be added to the area.
In order of the Kung Fu Panda franchise history:
- Kung Fu Panda (2008)
- Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (2008)
- Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special (2010)
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Season 1 (2011-12)
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Season 2 (2012-13)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
- Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011)
- Kung Fu Panda 3 (2015)
- "2011 WORLDWIDE GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- O'Hara, Helen (December 3, 2010). "Katzenberg Talks DreamWorks Sequels". Empire. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
- Oldham, Stuart; Maxwell, Erin (July 12, 2012). "Comic-Con: D'Works fires up 'Kung Fu Panda 3'". Variety. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "DreamWorks Animation SKG Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript". Seeking Alpha. November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- DreamWorks Animation (August 6, 2012). "Rising Dreams in the Orient: Oriental DreamWorks To Establish Headquarters in Xuhui". DreamWorks Animation. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Michael Cieply; Brooks Barnes (January 14, 2013). "To Get Movies Into China, Hollywood Gives Censors a Preview". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- DreamWorks Animation (September 9, 2012). "New Distributor Twentieth Century Fox Unveils DreamWorks Animation's Release Slate Through 2016". DreamWorks Animation. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- Chitwood, Adam (November 12, 2012). "Guillermo del Toro Talks Puss in Boots 2, Kung Fu Panda 3 & Trollhunters; Says Panda 3 Has the 'Most Formidable Villain in the Series'". Collider.com. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- "Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen & Rebel Wilson Board ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′". Deadline. April 9, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- "NICKELODEON ANIMATION BRINGS KUNG FU PANDA TO NEW ZEALAND". Omnilab Media. May 3, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
- "The Hilarious Global Smash Hit Kung Fu Panda 2 Becomes the Most Awesome Holiday Gift Pack on Blu-Ray™ and DVD Tuesday, December 13th". DreamWorks Animation via PRNewswire. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- "Kung Fu Panda (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Kung Fu Panda Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo.
- "Franchise Index". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "Kung Fu Panda (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- "Kung Fu Panda (2008)". Metacritic. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
- "Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- "Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)". Metacritic. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
- "DreamWorks Animation and Franco Dragone Entertainment Group to Create 'Kung Fu Panda' Arena". DreamWorks Animation. May 19, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Kung Fu Panda Auditions (November 22, 2010). "AUDITIONS START NEXR SUNDAY IN ORLANDO!". Facebook. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- "KUNG FU PANDA LIVE AUDITIONS". inside Gymnastics. January 3, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Kung Fu Panda Auditions (January 11, 2012). "Given the immense innovation...". Facebook. Retrieved March 4, 2012. "Given the immense innovation in development for “Kung Fu Panda Arena Spectacular,” DreamWorks Theatricals and the Franco Dragone Entertainment Group have made the difficult decision to delay the production’s launch date. It is the ambition of both companies to give the show the appropriate amount of time it needs to recognize its fullest creative potential. All auditions have been postponed indefinitely."
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