Kung Fu Panda 3

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Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced byMelissa Cobb
Written byJonathan Aibel
Glenn Berger
Music byHans Zimmer[1]
Edited byClare Knight
Distributed by20th Century Fox (Worldwide)[N 1]
Oriental DreamWorks (China)
Release date
  • January 23, 2016 (2016-01-23) (China)
  • January 29, 2016 (2016-01-29) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes[2]
  • United States
  • China
Budget$145 million[3]
Box office$521.2 million[3]

Kung Fu Panda 3 is a 2016 computer-animated action comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox worldwide and by Oriental DreamWorks in China. It is the third installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise and the sequel to Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011). In the film, Po enters a village of pandas and re-unites with his birth father, but problems arise when a villainous spirit warrior named Kai returns to the mortal realm and steals qi from the kung fu masters, with the goal of ending Oogway's legacy. To prevent Kai from taking qi from all kung fu masters and pandas, Po forms an army of pandas to battle Kai's jade minions and must become a master of qi himself to defeat Kai and save his friends.

The film is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni and written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, James Hong and Jackie Chan reprise their roles from the previous films with Randall Duk Kim reprising his role of Oogway from the first film. They are joined by Bryan Cranston (replacing Fred Tatasciore, who went on to voice Master Bear), J. K. Simmons and Kate Hudson in the roles of Li Shan, Kai, and Mei Mei, respectively.

Kung Fu Panda 3 premiered on January 16, 2016 in Los Angeles.[4] It received a limited release in China on January 23 for a special three-hour sneak preview and was released in the United States on January 29 in 3D, grossing $521 million worldwide against its $145 million budget. Like its predecessors, the film received generally positive reviews, with praise for the voice acting, animation, visuals, humor, and heart.


In the spirit realm, Oogway fights against his former comrade, Kai, a spirit warrior yak, who has defeated all the other kung fu masters in the realm and taken their chi. Oogway gets trapped and has his chi stolen, but not before he warns Kai that the Dragon Warrior will stop him. Kai takes this as a challenge to steal the Dragon Warrior's chi and returns to the mortal realm. Meanwhile, Master Shifu announces his retirement from teaching and passes the role of teacher to the Dragon Warrior, Po, who realizes that teaching kung fu is not as easy as anticipated, and injures the Furious Five. Po is crushed because of his failure, but Shifu advises Po that instead of trying to be like him, he should try to be himself. Po returns home where he meets a panda, Li Shan, who they both realize is his long-lost biological father. They quickly bond with each other, much to the jealousy of Po's adoptive father Mr. Ping.

After introducing Li to Shifu and his friends, Po and the Five defend the Valley of Peace from jade zombies that Kai has created using the chi of past kung fu masters. The team learns through research that Oogway and Kai were once brothers-in-arms and very close friends. After Oogway was injured in battle, Kai carried him to a village of pandas who healed him with their mastery of chi. The pandas then taught Oogway how to utilize chi to help others. However, Kai wanted the power for himself and tried to steal the pandas' chi, forcing Oogway to banish him to the spirit realm by ending his life. In order to defeat Kai, Po must learn to master the use of chi himself. Li offers to teach him by taking him to his secret panda village. While Shifu and the Furious Five stay behind to deal with Kai, Po and Li travel to the village, with Mr. Ping stowing away to try and drive a wedge between them. Although Po is eager to learn chi, Li tells him he must first learn the relaxed life of a panda in the village.

Kai takes the chi of every kung fu master in China, including Shifu and the Furious Five, except Tigress, who escapes the subsequent destruction of the Jade Palace to warn Po and the other pandas that Kai is coming. Afraid, Li and the pandas prepare to run away. When Po begs Li to teach him the secret chi technique, Li confesses that he lied about knowing it out of fear of losing him again. Heartbroken and enraged, Po walks away and isolates himself to train vigorously in preparation for fighting Kai. Mr. Ping, who realizes Po has become happier with Li in his life, tells Li that Po being mad at him is part of being a parent, but that Po will forgive him. Ping then tells him that Po will need both of them in order to stop Kai. Li goes back to Po, and says the pandas will help him fight Kai and his army. Realizing what had previously made him fail as a teacher, Po agrees and teaches them to use their everyday activities as kung fu skills.

Kai arrives and sends his minions to capture Po, who sets the pandas, Ping, and Tigress upon them, distracting Kai. They defeat the jade zombie army, but when Po tries to use his signature Wuxi Finger Hold on Kai to send him back to the spirit realm, Kai reveals that the move only works on mortals, not a spirit warrior like himself. Kai then attacks Po, who stays on the defensive until he gains the upper hand in their fight, and uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself while gripping Kai around the neck, transporting them both to the spirit realm. They fight again, and Kai subdues Po and begins to steal his chi. Using what they learned from Po, his friends and family use their chi to empower him. Po breaks free and harnesses their chi to create a giant dragon figure with which he quickly overpowers Kai. After taunting Kai, Po then gives him the power which overwhelms him, destroying him completely and restoring all of the fallen masters and the Five to normal.

In an ethereal golden pond, Oogway appears to Po and informs him that his journey as the Dragon Warrior has come full circle, declaring Po to be his successor. Po chooses to return to the mortal world, and he and his extended family all return to the Valley, where they continue practicing kung fu and chi.

Voice cast[edit]



In 2010, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg announced that the Kung Fu Panda franchise was planned to have six movies, or "chapters," altogether.[12] In July 2012, Kung Fu Panda 3 was officially confirmed by Bill Damaschke, DWA's chief creative officer.[13]

The film was made 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 was made in China, and the rest in the United States, at DWA.[14][15] This was the first time that any major American animated feature film had been co-produced with a Chinese firm.[16] The filmmakers worked closely with SAPPRFT to ensure the film's release in China.[17] As a film with a co-production status in China, it allowed the production companies to circumvent the country's strict import quota and take a greater share of box-office revenue than imported films.[15][18] To ensure the film's success in China, in addition to the English version, the Chinese version of the film was also fully animated, making them the only versions that have the characters' lips synchronized with their voices.[19]


Kung Fu Panda 3 saw the crew from the second film reunite, including director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, producer Melissa Cobb, screenplay writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, and Guillermo del Toro as executive producer.[20] Initially, Nelson was to direct the film alone, but by February 2015, Alessandro Carloni had joined her as a co-director. According to the report, Carloni, who had worked as an animation supervisor on the first film and a story artist on the second, joined Nelson after she requested strengthening "the director's bench" to ensure that the film is completed in a timely manner.[21]

On April 9, 2013, DreamWorks Animation announced that Rebel Wilson, Bryan Cranston, and Mads Mikkelsen had joined the cast of the film.[5] By April 2015, J.K. Simmons had replaced Mikkelsen, whose character had been rewritten.[22] Five months later, Wilson was replaced by Kate Hudson due to an extended production schedule.[10] The studio had to reanimate previously completed scenes to reflect Hudson's interpretation of the character.[10]

The film's antagonist, Kai, is the first supernatural villain of the Kung Fu Panda series.[23] Described by del Toro as "the most formidable villain yet,"[24] the creators wanted him to stand apart from his predecessors.[23] Nelson reasoned, "You can't go brawler because Tai Lung was brawler. You can't go smarter because Shen was smarter. Where can you go? You have to go supernatural, bigger, and even more intimidating."[23]


On July 25, 2014, it was announced that Hans Zimmer, who scored the first two "Kung Fu Panda" movies, would return to score the film.[1] The score is performed by the London Session Orchestra, includes choir pieces performed by The Metro Voices and Shanghai Roxi Musical Studio Choirs, and features performances from renowned Asian musicians such as Chinese pianist Lang Lang, Chinese cellist Jian Wang, erhu musician Guo Gan, Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou, and Canadian-Taiwanese young singer Patrick Brasca, who performs the main theme "Try" with Chou in the end credits. The soundtrack album was released on January 22, 2016 on Sony Classical.[25] John Powell, who collaborated with Zimmer on the first two films, did not return for the third installment but despite this, most of the themes he collaborated with Zimmer were worked into the score. Many themes from the score contained portions of the garage rock song "I'm So Sorry" by the American pop rock band Imagine Dragons. For the soundtrack, the song was portioned in the tracks "The Arrival of Kai", "The Hall of Heroes", "The Legend of Kai", "Jaded", "Po Belongs", "Kai Is Closer", "The Battle of Legends", and "The Spirit Realm". The soundtrack also includes additional music composed by Chinese-American composer Nathan Wang, Scottish composer Lorne Balfe, and Scottish composer Paul Mounsey.


Jack Black at the film's Australian premiere in Sydney

In September 2012, it was announced that Kung Fu Panda 3 would be released on March 18, 2016.[20] On April 9, 2013, the film's release date was moved back to December 23, 2015.[5] In December 2014, the film was pushed forward to its original release date of March 18, 2016, to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[26] In April 2015, the release date was once again shifted, this time to January 29, 2016.[27] AMC Theatres partnered with Fox and DWA to play the movie in Mandarin at seven theaters and in Spanish at 14 locations in the U.S and Canada meaning there will be a mix of subtitled and dubbed formats of Kung Fu Panda 3. This will mark the first time that AMC is playing a major theatrical release in dubbed/subtitled Mandarin.[28] The film had a day-and-date release starting from January 28 in South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Jamaica and Puerto Rico and China and the U.S. and Canada on January 29, 2016. Other markets followed in March and April.[29][30][needs update] According to Deadline Hollywood, the strategy behind such a staggered release was to take advantage of certain opportunistic dates which presented themselves such as the Chinese New Year in February for China.[29]


Box office[edit]

Kung Fu Panda 3 grossed $143.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $377.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $521.2 million, and is the lowest-grossing film in the series.[3] According to Deadline Hollywood, the film made a net profit of $76.65 million, making it one of the top 20 most profitable releases of 2016.[31]

In the United States and Canada, early speculation expected the film would open to about $40–45 million from 3,955 theaters, with Box Office Mojo reporting as high as a $53 million opening, on par with Kung Fu Panda 2's $47.7 million opening in 2011, but a significant decrease from the original film's $60.2 million opening in 2008.[28][32][33][30][34] However, DreamWorks Animation and Fox gave a more conservative estimate of a "mid-$40 million" opening.[32] Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Rentrak, said the film's opening "should land somewhere between the first two installments," noting that the film will likely appeal to families "with few options for appropriate entertainment at the multiplex of late."[33] On January 27, two days before the film's release, Fandango reported that Kung Fu Panda 3 was the top advance ticket seller for the weekend, outperforming previous DreamWorks Animation films Home and Kung Fu Panda 2 , at the same point in their sale cycles.[28] Box office pundits also noted that the film didn't face any serious competition with other new releases, such as The Finest Hours and Fifty Shades of Black, nor with holdovers The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which were all expected to gross around $10 million.[28] In North America, Kung Fu Panda 3 topped the box office in its debut weekend with $41.3 million, making it the best opening weekend for an animated film in January and the third-highest weekend debut ever for the month.[35] The film continued to top the North American box office during its second weekend, grossing $21.2 million.[36]

In China, expectations were high for the film, with Nancy Tartaglione of Deadline Hollywood anticipating a bigger opening weekend than in the U.S. and a higher total gross. Conservative estimates for Kung Fu Panda 3's opening in China ranged from $35 million to upwards of $50 million.[29] Even before the film's official Chinese release, it was already projected to surpass Monkey King: Hero Is Back as the country's highest-grossing animated film, which had earned $153 million at the box office in 2015,[37] since Kung Fu Panda 3 had the additional benefits of opening a week before the Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, and debuting during the school holidays in the Lunar New Year "blackout" period banning the release of foreign films, and therefore did not face competition from major Hollywood productions.[29][37]

The film had a limited theatrical release in China on January 22, 2016, a week before its release in the United States. A three-hour special sneak preview was screened, earning $6.4 million from two different versions of the film[38] topping the daily box office charts.[39] Buoyed by good word-of-mouth,[37] the film had a single-day opening of $16.3 million, the biggest of 2016 thus far, earning a total of $23.1 million including previews from its Saturday showings, giving Kung Fu Panda 3 one of China's highest-grossing openings.[40]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a approval rating of 87%, based on 176 reviews, with an average rating of 7.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family."[41] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[42]

IGN gave the film a score of 8.5 out of 10, commenting that "Kung Fu Panda 3 offers a fun-filled, action-packed conclusion to DreamWorks' endearing animated series."[43] Screen Rant awarded it 2.5 out of 5, saying, "At times, it's a beautiful movie, filled with likable characters, as well as digestible gags, that should keep kids smiling and giggling–but, with a plethora of more ambitious animated options out there, passable might not justify the money (or time) required for a viewing."[44] Glenn Kenny of RogerEbert.com awarded Kung Fu Panda 3 three out of four stars and wrote that the film "in spite of its abundant action–and for all the interspecies mashups, this is as much an action-adventure animated movie as it is a funny-animal animated movie–is a pretty relaxing experience for the adult viewer."[45] Justin Chang of Variety gave a positive review, saying that "a winning lightness of touch prevails in this delightful continuation of the durable DreamWorks franchise."[46] Christian Holub of Entertainment Weekly gave Kung Fu Panda 3 a rating of B, commenting that the film was "just complicated enough to reward steady viewers and just simple enough for parent escorts to enjoy without much prior knowledge."[47] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "while the storyline, in which Jack Black's dumpling-downing Dragon Warrior is reunited with his biological father, doesn't quite fulfill its prophecies, dramatically speaking, visually speaking it's all quite impressive–one of those very rare animated features that completely justifies its 3D glasses."[48] Marter Parkinson of The Escapist gave the film three out of five stars, saying that "Kung Fu Panda 3 can best be described as 'another one,'" and called it "just a slight variation of the story told in the first film" and "a step down from the second film," but concluded that "it's a perfectly fine film, and if all you want is 'more of the same,' it won't disappoint."[49] Forbes gave a mixed review, negatively comparing Kung Fu Panda 3 to its predecessors and describing it as "a comedown from the first two superb entries," but conceding that the film was "visually gorgeous and generally entertaining."[50]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Best Animated Feature Melissa Cobb Nominated [51]
Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in an Animated Production Matt Titus, Jeff Budsberg, Carl Hooper, Louis Flores, and Jason Mayer
Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Feature Production Ludovic Bouancheau
Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Raymond Zibach and Max Boas
ASCAP Award May 14, 2017 Top Box Office Films Hans Zimmer Won [52]
6th Behind the Voice Actors Awards June 11, 2017 Best Male Vocal Performance in a Feature Film in a Supporting Role J.K. Simmons Nominated [53]
British Academy Children's Awards November 20, 2016 BAFTA Kids' Vote Kung Fu Panda 3 [54][55]
Georgia Film Critics Association January 11, 2017 Best Animated Film Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni [56]
Golden Trailer Awards June 5, 2016 Best Animation/Family TV Spot Kung Fu Panda 3 [57]
2017 Kid Choice Awards March 11, 2017 Most Wanted Pet Jack Black [58]
MTV Movie Awards April 10, 2016 Best Virtual Performance [59]
Saturn Awards June 22, 2016 Best Animated Film Kung Fu Panda 3 [60]

Video game[edit]

Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is a single and multiplayer RPG martial arts video freefire game that features characters from all three Kung Fu Panda films.[61] Developed by Vicious Cycle Software and published by Little Orbit, the game was released on December 1, 2015 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.[62] The Wii U version was released on December 15, 2015.[62]


On December 3, 2010, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg officially confirmed that the series could see three more sequels after Kung Fu Panda 3, bringing it to a six-film series.[12] On January 13, 2016, Collider asked the filmmakers of Kung Fu Panda 3 about the possibility of a fourth film, with co-director Jennifer Yuh Nelson answering, "It’s one at a time. We want to make this a perfect jewel, and then we’ll see what happens after that," and co-director Alessandro Carloni replying, "With the sequels, we don’t want to try to have them feel open-ended. We want it to feel like a completed journey, and we feel this movie does. And then, if a fantastic story presents itself, great."[63] On August 2, 2018, when asked about any updates on Kung Fu Panda 4, Nelson replied that she did not know and had always seen the series as a trilogy, but that she was open to the idea of a fourth installment, as long as the focus remained on Po.[64]


  1. ^ In 2018, the film's distribution rights were transferred from 20th Century Fox to Universal Pictures.


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External links[edit]