Kung Fu Panda 3 took the top slot in new releases this past weekend, easily out-stripping Jane Got a Gun and The Finest Hours, which both star genre alumni.
Panda took in an estimated $41 million here in the U.S., just short of expectations and behind Kung Fu Panda 2‘s $47.7 million. But in China, the film opened to $58.3 million over the weekend. This is the biggest launch for an animated film in the country, beating out Minions ($50m) for the top slot.
Internationally, Kung Fu Panda 3 has earned $116.7 million from markets that include the U.S., China, South Korea, Russia, and others.
The sequel is the first to be produced by DreamWorks Animation and the Shanghai-based Oriental DreamWorks, with backing from the China Film Group, giving it a preferential release under Chinese regulatory restrictions.
Returning voice cast includes Jack Black (Po), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Dustin Hoffman (Master Shifu), Jackie Chan (Monkey), Lucy Liu (Viper), and Seth Rogen (Mantis). Newcomers to the cast are Bryan Cranston as Po’s father Li, Kate Hudson as Po’s fiancée Mei Mei, and J.K. Simmons as Kai.
The story has Po returning to a panda sanctuary with his father, where he’s set to marry Mei Mei only to find that he just doesn’t fit in. On top of that, he and his cohorts have to fight an evil spirit that threatens all of China.
The Finest Hours, starring Chris Pine (Star Trek, Wonder Woman), opened to about $10.1 million for the weekend, coming in number 3 in the U.S.
Jane Got a Gun, the much-troubled production starring Natalie Portman (Thor) and Ewan McGregor (Star Wars) opened with only $830,000 in U.S. box office. Despite allowances for a smaller number of screens and a lower marketing budget, this is easily the worst opening of Portman’s career.