“Kung Fu Panda 3” has opened with an impressive $57 million launch weekend in China — $16 million more than the U.S. opening and the best opening for an animated title in China.
“Minions” had been the top animated opener previously in China with $50 million in its first eight days.
“Kung Fu Panda 3” was produced by DreamWorks Animation and four-year-old Oriental DreamWorks, the joint venture founded by DWA and Chinese investors with the aim of producing mainly Chinese-themed films. The CGI comedy — which carries a $145 million budget — is set in China with Po meeting his biological father and bonding with him before confronting an evil supernatural warrior.
The China results included $3.8 millon on 272 Imax screens, setting a new opening weekend Imax record for an animated title, topping the $2.9 million from “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Additionally, 12 of the top 20 grossing locations were Imax sites.
“Kung Fu Panda 3” grossed another $18 million from four other international markets including Russia with $5.1 million and South Korea with$11.4 million for a worldwide opening of $116 million. Oriental DreamWorks is handling distribution in China and Korea; Fox handles distribution in the U.S. and most other markets.
Prospects are bright for the film in China, given its status as a local co-production, which means it’s not part of the 34-title annual quota for U.S. films. As a result, it can play longer than the 30-day limit and screen during the upcoming blackout period.
Additionally, “Kung Fu Panda 3” is being released in China in a Mandarin-language version that includes new animation aimed at the Chinese market with a local voice cast including Jackie Chan.
“Kung Fu Panda 3” was by far the top performer on the international side during the weekend with Fox’s “The Revenant” in second with $24.3 million in 62 markets, lifting its foreign total to $136 million with the U.K. leading the way with $23.5 million. The worldwide total for the Leonardo DiCaprio saga has hit $274 million.
Sony’s sci-fi actioner “The 5th Wave” finished third internationally with $13 million in 67 markets for a foreign total of $45 million. That edged Disney’s seventh weekend of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with $12.6 million for a total of $1.087 billion.
Awards contender “Spotlight” took in $4.1 million internationally over the weekend, led by a fifth-place launch in the U.K. with $1.4 million at 241 sites, $800,000 at 215 in France and $650,000 at 279 in Spain.