Hollywood's mix of kung fu and giant pandas is a hit in China

Getting Kung Fu Panda to the silver screen in China took the patience of a martial arts master, but the animated Hollywood take on Shaolin high jinks has got everybody kung-fu fighting in the ancestral home of the giant panda.

Kung Fu Panda , which opned on 20 June, passed the 100-million-yuan (£7.4m) threshold in the box offices at Chinese cinemas this week, a major milestone for a Hollywood film that was always going to be controversial in the home of kung fu. By Wednesday, the amusing tale about an overweight panda-cum-noodle chef who aspires to be a kung fu master had taken in 110 million Chinese yuan (£8.1m).

Audiences in a Beijing cinema were particularly enthusiastic about the performances of the Chinese action star Jackie Chan and the American-born actress Lucy Liu but Jack Black, who voices the main character, Po, was also a big hit.





Grown-ups interviewed after the screening said they felt the film was a sensitive and amusing depiction of a Chinese story. The children, once they stopped high-kicking and neck-chopping each other, said they thought the kung fu was really cool.

Lu Chuan, a leading Chinese director, said in his blog that Kung Fu Panda was a challenge to the Chinese film industry to make a film as good. "From a production standpoint, the movie is nearly perfect. Its American creators showed a very sincere attitude about Chinese culture," he wrote.

The Chinese are hugely proud of kung fu and they also love their national symbol, the giant panda, so it is a tribute to the DreamWorks Animation movie that it managed to address these two big issues sensitively.

But for a while it looked like the film might not get a screening at all. The performance artist Zhao Bandi, best known for carrying around a toy panda and using panda images in his work, including clothes designs for panda prostitutes and panda concubines, called for a boycott of the film. He said it was in poor taste and disrespectful to victims of the 12 May earthquake in which 90,000 died or are missing.

Because of Zhao's complaints, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the state body which tightly controls the entertainment business, decided to delay the film's release in the Sichuan earthquake zone, fearing it might offend victims. This prompted a huge online backlash. "Ridiculous! It is a very good film. Why do they not think about the reasons that Chinese people cannot produce such a film?" wrote one blogger.

An editorial in the Shanghai Evening Post asked: "Why the boycott? What's with the postponement? Is it about Zhao's own fragility, or does he genuinely believe that the quake-hit victims are too sensitive? The panda is cute, the kung fu is Chinese, the story is hilarious, and the theme is inspiring! Is this not what the people in the disaster area need most right now?"

Sure enough, audiences in the quake zone loved the movie.

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
    10 best DSLRs

    Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

    Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash