Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

February 2, 2016

One panda? Two pandas? Oh, my medication!

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Kim Hollis: Kung Fu Panda 3, the latest in the animated series from DreamWorks Animation, earned $41.3 million in North America and $75.7 million overseas, including $58.3 million from China alone. What do you think of this result?

Jason Barney: My initial reaction was negative. When I did my first bit of research I thought the budget numbers were a little high for an opening well below $50 million. The overall budget here is in that $145 range, which isn't crazy expensive, but I think I was swayed by the constant lower totals with each new film. They keep getting smaller... err... at least in the United States, that is.

Digging a little deeper, we learn that this is the exact type of film the creators have pushed for an international release. While the American market is going to be prime here, the overseas dollars continue to be a larger and larger part of the equation. So I'd say my perspective has changed a good deal. While $41 million isn't hot for a film with this cost in the US, those dollars are only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Taking into account everything involved, DreamWorks has done what they needed to do - have a solid opening in North America and watch the money come in from the rest of the world.


Ryan Kyle: $41 million is a great result for KFP3 when you look further into the numbers. The previous animated high for a January release was The Nut Job at $19.4 million, so that record is squashed, and it is tied neck-and-neck for the best January opening of all-time with Ride Along, so for this time of year, it's a pretty great start. While it's $6.7 million short of KFP2's opening (which was $13 million short of the original), that also bowed in the summer, when Fridays were stronger, and on Memorial day weekend, which would have given it an inflated Sunday. With no competition until the first weekend of March with Zootopia, KFP3 should hit the $165 million watermark the last film grossed. Unlike Shrek, KFP never really became a heavy-hitter, but North America is a very small piece of the pie for this film as the sequel's domestic gross only counted for 25% of its worldwide tally. I suspect that percentage will be even smaller this go-around.

Felix Quinonez: I think this is a respectable opening weekend for Kung Fu Panda 3. It does show a continued slide on the domestic front but as it has already been stated, that is only one piece of the puzzle. Also, the fact that it was able to open very close to the previous entry with a January release date versus a Memorial Day weekend release date shouldn't be ignored. When you add in the fact that it got a strong "A" Cinemascore and has no competition for a month, KP3 should be able to at least match its budget domestically. And the real money will come from overseas. I think when all is said and done KP3 will see a profit just from its theatrical run and hopefully we won't have to wait another four years for the next entry.

Kim Hollis: There's a lot at play here. The January release seems oddly timed until you realize that it's targeted to the Chinese market during the Chinese New Year, the busiest movie-going time of year in that country. According to Variety, the fact that KPF3 is a co-production of DreamWorks Animation and Oriental DreamWorks allows it to be considered a local Chinese film, which means the distributor retains significantly more of the box office receipts than it would for a movie produced "outside of China." For KFP3, they even did a dub for the film that matches the animated characters' mouths to the Chinese voices giving them life. The big goal hear was to make money in China, and while the domestic revenue is also nice, it was never the primary goal.

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