After many months of anticipation and online fan pro and con debates, DreamWorks Animation’s visually arresting Kung Fu Panda delivers the goods in theaters across the country today. Released by Paramount in 4,114 houses, the movie is tracking to bring in over $50 million, as it’s the expected entertainment of choice for families with younger children this weekend.
Directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson, the pic features the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Ian McShane and Lucy Liu and is based on a script by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Critics are praising the movie’s stunning production design by Raymond Zibach, the art direction by Tang Heng and the exciting fighting scenes, but are less enthusiastic about the familiar storyline and hackneyed message. Kung Fu Panda has received an 88% ranking (which corresponds to a B+ grade) on rottentomatoes.com.
It is estimated that film’s budget was between $130 million to $150 million, and if it performs well at the box office, it will establish another popular franchise for DreamWorks. Its competition at the box office this week is the new Adam Sandler comedy Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Paramount’s three-week-old blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The brave panda is expected to deliver solid numbers until Disney/Pixar’s robot hero WALL.E lands in theaters in three weeks.