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Kung Fu Panda is a 2008 American computer-animated action comedy martial arts film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne and produced by Melissa Cobb, and stars the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong, and Jackie Chan. Set in a version of ancient China populated by anthropomorphic talking animals, the plot revolves around a bumbling panda named Po who aspires to be a kung fu master. When an evil kung fu warrior is foretold to escape after twenty years in prison, Po is unwittingly named the chosen one destined to defeat him and bring peace to the land, much to the chagrin of the resident kung fu warriors.
The idea for the film was conceived by Michael Lachance, a DreamWorks Animation executive. The film was originally intended to be a parody, but director Stevenson decided instead, to shoot an action comedy wuxia film that incorporates the hero's journey narrative archetype for the lead character. The computer animation in the film was more complex than anything DreamWorks had done before. As with most DreamWorks animated films, Hans Zimmer (collaborating with John Powell this time) scored Kung Fu Panda. He visited China to absorb the culture and get to know the China National Symphony Orchestra as part of his preparation. A sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2, was released on May 26, 2011, along with a television series, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness later that same year as a part of a franchise. A second sequel called Kung Fu Panda 3 was released on January 29, 2016.
Kung Fu Panda premiered in the United States on June 6, 2008. The film received critical acclaim upon release. Kung Fu Panda opened in 4,114 theaters, grossing $20.3 million on its opening day and $60.2 million on its opening weekend, resulting in the number one position at the box office. The film became DreamWorks' biggest opening for a non-sequel film, the highest grossing animated film of the year worldwide, and also had the fourth-largest opening weekend for a DreamWorks animated film at the American and Canadian box office, behind Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After.