Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Not a Dumping Ground: 'Kung Fu Panda 3' Moved To January 2016
In a rather shocking turn of events, DreamWorks announced that Kung Fu Panda 3 will open a little earlier than expected...
The sequel, which was originally due out on March 18, 2016, is now set to open on January 29, 2016...
I already covered this and why this has happened, over at Rotoscopers. Many of you might be asking, "Why that weekend?" I'll gladly explain here, too.
The Chinese New Year is on February 8th, so DreamWorks is releasing this film a week in advance in order to take advantage of that, especially in China where the film is sure to rock the box office like its predecessors did. The film could also be set around the Chinese New Year as well. Kung Fu Panda 3 is also a co-production with Oriental DreamWorks, the Shanghai-based DreamWorks unit. It's also their first production, then they'll move onto their original, currently untitled animated film (which will debut in 2018) and some live-action films.
To some people, this date may seem ludicrous.
After all, January and February are dumping grounds that are suited just for little movies, right? Movies that aren't blockbusters and such...
But that isn't so. We've seen good-sized films released in the Januarys and Februarys of the last five years or so. Maybe for a little while it was not a desirable season to release a movie in, but...
This past February, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water opened with an unexpected $55 million domestically. People like to bark "but kids are in school, kids are in school!" Regardless, if the movie looks appealing to audiences in general (not just the kids), people of all ages will come. Again, the whole "it's a kiddie movie"/"it's not for adults" pigeonholing. Also, kids happen to not have school on the weekends, and even on weekdays they can still go sometime in the afternoon or night. But my main point is: Adults are one of the keys to a very successful animated film...
Also, this past February had two other hits: Fifty Shades of Grey and Kingsman: The Secret Service. One's based on a hyped up best-seller, so obviously it was going to open big regardless of the month they chose to release it in. Kingsman: The Secret Service's source material is probably not very well known, and on top of that it's an R-rated sendup of spy movies that has absolutely no filter. It opened okay, above expectations actually, but had great legs and it has outgrossed all February comic book movies on top of making $124 million so far. (I never reviewed the film on here, but it's highly recommended. If it's still playing in your area, see it!)
Anyways, we saw American Sniper open with $89 million this past January. It was a movie a ton of people wanted to see, so that's why it opened high. It didn't matter when it opened, people still went. Even though it opened super-high, it had excellent legs. This was also an R-rated film, no less! There have been several January and February releases that have done very well: The Lego Movie, Ride Along, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Shutter Island, Journey to the Mysterious Island, The Book of Eli, The Green Hornet, Taken, Gran Torino, and Lone Survivor.
If audiences want to see a film, they'll go see that film. It doesn't matter when it comes out.
So the family film can certainly succeed in that season, so Kung Fu Panda 3 ought to be fine. It also doesn't have to deal with Zootopia holdovers, and teens/adults flocking to Allegiant Part 1 and Batman v Superman. It would still do well in that timeframe, but here, it'll have even more room to breathe thus it'll probably make even more money. I feel this is a very smart release date for the film.
It's very out of the way, and as long as it looks good to audiences from the trailers, it ought to open very well.
And also... Think about this for a second...
A third entry in a big blockbuster series is opening in January!
Who would've thought?
A real dumping ground alright!
(On a side note, DreamWorks now has to move Trolls out of 11/4/2016.)