Kung Fu Panda is a 2008 American animated film. It was directed by John Wayne Stevenson and Mark Osborne and produced by Melissa Cobb and stars Jack Black as Po. The film was produced by DreamWorks Animation's studio in Glendale, California and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film stars the voice of Jack Black as the panda, Po, along with the voices of Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong and Jackie Chan. Set in ancient China, the plot revolves around a bumbling panda who aspires to be a kung fu master. After a much-feared ex-disciple is prophesied to escape from prison, Po is foretold to be the Dragon Warrior by the head of the temple, much to his shock and surprise, as well as the chagrin of the resident kung fu warriors.
Although the concept of a "kung fu panda" has been around since at least 1993, work on the film did not begin until 2004. 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 martial arts film in the spirit of Hong Kong action cinema 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.
Kung Fu Panda premiered in the United States on June 1, 2008, and has since received very favorable reviews from critics. The film currently garners an 89% "Certified Fresh" approval rating from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 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 has achieved DreamWorks's biggest opening for a non-sequel film, highest grossing animated movie of the year, and the third-largest weekend overall for a DreamWorks animated film, behind Shrek the Third and Shrek 2.