Kung Fu Panda (franchise)

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Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda logo.svg
Creator DreamWorks Animation
Films and television
Films
Animated series
Theatrical presentations
Plays
Games
Video games
Audio
Soundtracks
Miscellaneous
Short films

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 9 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[1] and the second is currently the biggest worldwide box office success for a movie directed solely by a woman (Jennifer Yuh Nelson). A third film, Kung Fu Panda 3, is set to be released in 2015.

Film series[edit]

Kung Fu Panda (2008)[edit]

Main article: Kung Fu Panda

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 Scroll, 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)[edit]

Main article: Kung Fu Panda 2

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)[edit]

Main article: Kung Fu Panda 3

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, announced in 2010 that "Kung Fu Panda actually has 6 chapters to it."[2] Kung Fu Panda 3 was officially confirmed in July 2012 by Bill Damaschke, chief creative officer for DWA.[3] 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.[4][5] 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.[6] It is set for a December 23, 2015 release date.[7]

Future[edit]

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has said that it is possible that the series could see 3 more sequels after Kung Fu Panda 3, bringing it to a six-film series.[2]

Television series[edit]

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness[edit]

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. The second season aired from April 6, 2012 to June 21, 2013 and also consisted of 26 episode. A third season began airing June 24, 2013 and will also consist of 26 episodes.

Season Episodes Originally aired (U.S. dates)
Season premiere Season finale
1 26 September 19, 2011 (2011-09-19) April 5, 2012 (2012-04-05)
2 26 April 6, 2012 (2012-04-06) June 21, 2013 (2013-06-21)
3 26 June 24, 2013 (2013-06-24) TBA

Short films[edit]

Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (2008)[edit]

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 (2010)[edit]

Main article: Kung Fu Panda Holiday

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)[edit]

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.[8]

Secret of the Scrolls (TBA)[edit]

According to a 2013 interview with Sandro Cleuzo, a character animator at DreamWorks Animation, a new traditionally animated Kung Fu Panda short film is being worked on.[9][10] Kari Wahlgren, the voice of Tigress in Legends of Awesomeness, tweeted in December 2013 that a Kung Fu Panda film, titled Secret of the Scrolls, was screened at DreamWorks.[11]

Releases[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

The films series grossed over $1.2 billion making the Kung Fu Panda franchise the eighth highest-grossing animated franchise (behind Shrek, Ice Age, Toy Story, Madagascar, Despicable Me, Monsters, Inc., and Cars) and the third highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation's franchise behind Shrek and Madagascar.

Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget Reference
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 [12]
Kung Fu Panda 2 May 26, 2011 $165,249,063 $500,443,218 $665,692,281 #196 #59 $150,000,000 [13]
Total $380,683,654 $916,753,187 $1,297,436,841 #51 N/A $280,000,000 [14][15]

Critical reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Kung Fu Panda 87% (167 reviews)[16] 73% (33 reviews)[17]
Kung Fu Panda 2 81% (164 reviews)[18] 67% (31 reviews)[19]
Average Ratings 84% 70%

Cast and characters[edit]

Characters Theatrical films Short films Specials TV Shows
Kung Fu Panda Kung Fu Panda 2 Kung Fu Panda 3 Secrets of the Furious Five Secrets of the Masters Kung Fu Panda
Holiday
Kung Fu Panda:
Legends of Awesomeness
Po Jack Black Mick Wingert
Tigress Angelina Jolie Tara Strong (y) Angelina Jolie Kari Wahlgren
Shifu Dustin Hoffman Fred Tatasciore
Mantis Seth Rogen Max Koch Seth Rogen Max Koch
Monkey Jackie Chan Jaycee Chan (y)   Jackie Chan James Sie
Viper Lucy Liu Jessica Di Cicco (y)   Lucy Liu
Crane David Cross   David Cross Amir Talai
Mr. Ping James Hong TBA   James Hong
Oogway Randall Duk Kim Silent Cameo   Randall Duk Kim   Randall Duk Kim
Tai Lung Ian McShane Silent Cameo   Ian McShane (c) Andre Sogliuzzo (c)
Zeng Dan Fogler   Dan Fogler Mick Wingert
Storming Ox   Dennis Haysbert   Dennis Haysbert  
Croc   Jean-Claude Van Damme   Tony Leondis  
Thundering Rhino   Victor Garber   Paul Scheer  
Vachir Michael Clarke Duncan  
Shen   Gary Oldman   Mentioned only
Soothsayer   Michelle Yeoh  
Boss Wolf   Danny McBride  
Great Master Viper   James Sie  
Mei Ling   Stephanie Lemelin  
Su Wu   Sumalee Montano  
Wing Wu   Sumalee Montano  
Wan Wu   Sumalee Montano  
Wo Hop   Jack McBrayer  
Master Rhino   Jonathan Groff  
Fung   John DiMaggio
Hundun   Diedrich Bader
Temutai   Kevin Michael Richardson
Jong Sung Jai Kai Chow   Wayne Knight
Tong Fo   Jeff Bennett
Taotie   Wallace Shawn
Bian Zao   Simon Helberg
Chao   James Sie
Yao   Paul Rugg
Scorpion   Lynn Milgrim
Gah-ri   Fred Tatasciore
Lidong   Jim Cummings
Fenghuang   Wendie Malick
Junjie   Stephen Root
Bao   Fred Tatasciore
Su   Amy Hill
Wu Kong   James Sie
Tsi   R. Lee Ermey
Ke-Pa   Alfred Molina
Peng   Danny Cooksey
Song   Lauren Tom
Hu   Neil Ross
  • A dark gray cell indicates the character does not appear in the film, special, or T.V. series.
  • *(y) indicates the actor portrayed the role in a flashback scene when the character was younger.
  • *(c) indicates a cameo appearance.

Crew[edit]

Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor
Kung Fu Panda John Stevenson
Mark Osborne
Melissa Cobb Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger Hans Zimmer
John Powell
Clare Knight
Kung Fu Panda 2 Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Kung Fu Panda 3 TBA TBA

Video games[edit]

Arena show[edit]

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.[20] After a multi city casting tour in 2010,[21] the production went behind closed doors until late 2011 when a new set of audition dates were announced for the following year.[22] 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.[23]

Themed land[edit]

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 were added to the area.

Chronology[edit]

In order of the Kung Fu Panda franchise history:

  1. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  2. Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (2008)
  3. Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010)
  4. Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011–present)
  5. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
  6. Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011)
  7. Kung Fu Panda 3 (2015)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2011 WORLDWIDE GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b O'Hara, Helen (December 3, 2010). "Katzenberg Talks DreamWorks Sequels". Empire. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ Oldham, Stuart; Maxwell, Erin (July 12, 2012). "Comic-Con: D'Works fires up 'Kung Fu Panda 3'". Variety. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ "DreamWorks Animation SKG Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript". Seeking Alpha. November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ Tsui, Clarence (June 17, 2013). "'Kung Fu Panda 3' to Begin Production in August". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ DreamWorks Animation (September 9, 2012). "New Distributor Twentieth Century Fox Unveils DreamWorks Animation's Release Slate Through 2016". DreamWorks Animation. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen & Rebel Wilson Board ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′". Deadline. April 9, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "We Interviewed Sandro Cleuzo - Character Animator at DreamWorks Animation Studios". Animdesk. November 24, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013. "Animated on a new 'Kung Fu Panda' 2D short also for DreamWorks which also made me work on a Cintiq for the first time and now I am comfortable with it." 
  10. ^ "Sandro Cleuzo - Taught By A Pro Art and Animation Instruction". Taught By a Pro. Retrieved December 14, 2013. "I then had the opportunity to animate on the third Kung Fu Panda 2D short." 
  11. ^ Wahlgren, Kari (December 11, 2013). "'Secret of the Scrolls' screening at DreamWorks tonight.... Great job to everyone in the cast and crew!! #kungfupanda". Twitter. Retrieved December 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kung Fu Panda (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kung Fu Panda Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. 
  15. ^ "Franchise Index". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Kung Fu Panda (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Kung Fu Panda (2008)". Metacritic. Retrieved June 5, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)". Metacritic. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  20. ^ "DreamWorks Animation and Franco Dragone Entertainment Group to Create 'Kung Fu Panda' Arena". DreamWorks Animation. May 19, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ Kung Fu Panda Auditions (November 22, 2010). "AUDITIONS START NEXR SUNDAY IN ORLANDO!". Facebook. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  22. ^ "KUNG FU PANDA LIVE AUDITIONS". inside Gymnastics. January 3, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  23. ^ 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." 

External links[edit]