The success of ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

By Huang Tingting Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/29 19:18:41

Poster for Kung Fu Panda 3 Photo: Courtesy of Pearl Studio

The highest-earning China-themed Hollywood animated film franchise ever, the Kung Fu Panda films are definitely a landmark series that has helped export Chinese culture to the world.

During a time when Sino-US film cooperation was gaining speed, Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) was the first animated Hollywood film to be co-produced with a Chinese studio. Dagan Potter, Head of Studio of the Shanghai-based Pearl Studio (previously known as Oriental DreamWorks) and a digital supervisor for the Chinese team for Kung Fu Panda 3, shared some behind-the-scene stories from production on the film in an email interview.

"A significant percentage of our team for Kung Fu Panda 3 was Chinese, based at our studio in Shanghai… Having a team based in the country that our film is based was a huge advantage for us," wrote Potter.

To better showcase Chinese culture, Potter said the team carried out a tremendous amount of research to ensure the Chinese elements in the story were, as the studio put it, "as authentic as possible."

"Our team in China became a kind-of cultural committee for Kung Fu Panda 3. At any level, any of our artists or production staff could reach out if they felt we weren't being culturally accurate… and this happened frequently," Potter told the Global Times.

The team reenacted tea ceremonies, dressed in traditional garb, watched high kicking kung fu action films and visited famous landmarks and villages during production - some of these elements were later included into the film's storyboards, according to Potter.

Their visits to see adorable pandas in nature reserves in China also served as great sources of inspiration for the movie.

"Obviously, China takes great pride in these beautiful creatures and we wanted to make sure that we captured their beauty and playfulness in our film. Po [the film's hero] is a fun-loving, curious guy, not unlike a baby panda! We took a lot of inspiration from those cuddly guys!" he noted.


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