Early B.O. Estimates: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Leads the Pack with $20M

SATURDAY 12:00 p.m. (Pacific): Dreamworks/Paramount is reporting a $20M opening day for Kung Fu Panda, which is better than the $17.75M I reported last night. The studio is floating a $60M estimate for the three-day, and that generally means it will be something higher. I say that the final weekend take will be $65M+, and there is an outside chance that it could reach the Animated Non-Sequel benchmarks of The Incredibles (Disney/Pixar) and Finding Nemo (Disney).


1. Shrek The Third: $121.6M

2. Shrek 2: $108M

3. Kung Fu Panda: $60M (estimated)

4. Shark Tale: $47.6M

5. Madagascar: $47.2M

6. Shrek: $42.3M

7. Over the Hedge: $38.5M

8. Bee Movie: $38M

9. Chicken Run: $17.5M

10. Antz: $17.1M

Even more impressive for Kung Fu Panda , featuring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth RogenLucy Liu and David Cross, is its standing among the All-Time Best Openings for Animated Non-Sequels. Kung Fu Panda  compares favorably to The Incredibles, Finding NemoMonsters, Inc. and Cars, and it will likely finish stronger than last year’s Pixar offering Ratatouille.


1. The Incredibles: $70.46M

2. Finding Nemo: $70.25M

3. Monsters, Inc.: $62.57M

4. Cars: $60.11M

5. Kung Fu Panda: $55M (estimated)

6. Ratatouille: $47.02M

7. Shrek: $42.34M

8. Happy Feet: $41.53M

9. Madagascar: $47.22M

10. Ice Age: $46.31M

Based on the Cars opening weekend model, Kung Fu Panda would get to $61M, but when you plug in the first frame pattern of The Incredibles, the new Dreamworks family flick would yield $69M. For information, Paramount is projecting $60M based on $20M Friday, $23M Saturday and $17M Sunday. I think they are following the “under-promise and over-deliver” rule, and at least $65M will be in the bank by Monday morning.

Even if we use Paramount’s lowball $60M number for Kung Fu Panda, it will easily reach $200M. Following Iron Man and Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, that would make the Melrose gang the first studio in history to release back-to-back-to-back $200M+ grossing movies.

Meanwhile, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (Sony) enjoyed a better-than-expected late night performance with $14.85M. Sony is pushing a $42M number for the weekend, which is very close, but I am projecting a possible $43.65M. If the number holds, it would be Adam Sandler‘s second best opening ever.

All-Time Best Adam Sandler Openings

1. The Longest Yard: $47.6M

2. You Don’t Mess With The Zohan: $43.65M (estimate)

3. Anger Management: $42.2M

4. Big Daddy: $41.5M

5. Click: $40M

6. 50 First Dates: $39.8M

7. The Waterboy: $39.4M

8. Mr. Deeds: $37.1M

9. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry: $34.2M

10. The Wedding Singer: $18.8M

As I wrote last night, Sex and the City was No. 3 for the day, but it will dip to the fourth spot for the weekend. SATC grabbed a solid $7.3M on Friday according to Warner Bros, which will likely translate to an estimated $21.8M. That will probably leave the picture just shy of the $100M mark after 10 days. Indy 4 swooped in for another $6.54M, and it appears that the Spielberg-directed pic will wrap up its third weekend with $24M. 

Rogue’s The Strangers scared up another $3M on Friday, and the Liv TylerScott Speedman slasher pic should wrap the weekend with $9.1M or so and a new cume of $37M+. Marvel’s unstoppable Iron Man (Paramount) is slowing a bit at No. 6 with $2.2M on Friday and a likely $8M for the frame. Robert Downey Jr.’s superhero debut will have banked about $290M by Monday.

Mongol (Picturehouse), a 2008 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, has opened powerfully on four screens with $6,500 per location on Friday. This Genghis Khan historical epic will likely win the weekend per theatre race with an almost $25,000 PTA. Takeout (CAVU), the story of an illegal Chinese immigrant, surprised with $4,318 at its single engagement, and that could lead to a $15,000+ per theatre average. Kung Fu Panda  will probably be No. 3 followed by Zohan and Film Movement’s The Grocer’s Son.


1. Kung Fu Panda  (Dreamworks): $60 million; $13,369 PTA; $60 million cume

2. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan  (Sony): $42 million; $10,471 PTA; $42 million cume

3. Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Paramount): $23.75 million; $5,668 PTA; $253.97 million cume

4. Sex and the City (Warner Bros.): $23.5 million; $7,068 PTA; $101.48 million cume

5. The Strangers (Rogue Releasing): $9.1 million; $3,674 PTA; $37.45 million cume

6. Iron Man (Paramount): $8 million; $2,729 PTA; $289.37 million cume

7. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Disney): $6.52 million; $2,129 PTA; $126.84 million cume

8. What Happens in Vegas (20th Century Fox): $3.9 million; $1,651 PTA; $72.73 million cume

9. Baby Mama (Universal): $1.3 million; $1,419 PTA; $58.43 million cume

10. Made of Honor (Sony): $1.24 million; $1,676 PTA; $45.12 million cume