DreamWorks Animation pulled out all the stops for its premiere of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” with Chinese performers and dragons wowing the crowd — which included stars Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Cranston, J.K. Simmons and Kate Hudson — at the pre-screening party outside the TCL Chinese Theater on Saturday. There was something for everyone: activity stations for the kids, costumed characters for photo ops, and plenty of Po’s favorite foods, especially noodles.
DWA’s “noodle dream” for the pic is for auds to love it as much as they loved the first two films, and co-president of feature animation Bonnie Arnold says she doesn’t think they’ll be disappointed. “We were just telling Jack Black that there’s a big ‘wanna see’ on the movie and we feel good about that,” she said. But does this mark the end of the adventures for Dragon Warrior Po and his Furious Five friends? Not necessarily, said DWA feature animation co-president Mireille Soria: “I think if people brainstorm and there’s a story that needs to be told, we should tell it.”
Screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger aren’t quite ready to give up the story yet. When told they had wrapped up Po’s story nicely, Aibel said, chuckling, “Hopefully not too much.” After coming up with their own twists on Variety headlines for “Kung Fu Panda 3” when it arrives at the box office, the scribes shared their noodle dream for the film. “Our noodle dream is that we knock ‘Star Wars’ off the No. 1 spot at the box office,” said Berger. But Aibel chimed in to say, “There’s no knocking ‘Stars Wars.’ ‘Star Wars’ will just slowly go away and then new things will come in.”
James Hong, who plays Po’s adoptive father in all three films, wore his noodle hat for the festivities and explained the concept of the noodle dream, which has been key to the franchise: “All of us have a noodle dream. It’s something that we constantly dream about when we shut our eyes and go to bed. You know when you dream it.”
Co-director Alessandro Carloni’s noodle dream is “for this movie to be successful and for the fans to be happy.” But for co-director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who acknowledged the long association they’ve had with all the films over the course of 10 years, her noodle dream is more personal: “To have a nice vacation.”