In China, Jeers and Cheers for ‘Kung Fu Panda’

The New York Times does a post-mortem on the failed efforts of groups in China to sink animated film ‘Kung Fu Panda‘ over claims it is exploitative:

Sometimes it is important to take a political stand. And sometimes it is just fun to watch a cartoon panda trying to do kung fu.

… The film, from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures, has already grossed over $12 million after less than two weeks in release, making the film’s opening one of the strongest in China in recent years.

Globally, the movie has brought in $275 million, Paramount said Sunday.

Some Chinese critics had asked consumers to protest the film because Steven Spielberg, a top executive at DreamWorks, resigned last February as artistic adviser to the 2008 Beijing Olympics after failing to persuade Chinese officials to do more in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Another group, backed by the Chinese artist Zhao Bandi, who uses pandas as an inspiration for his work, also called for a boycott, saying the animated film is exploiting a national symbol.

But on June 21 the film opened to huge crowds in Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities. Chinese audiences have praised the quality of the film’s animation and its colorful and clever depiction of various aspects of ancient Chinese culture, architecture and scenery.

The trailer for ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ via YouTube:

See the state-run media’s take on the exploitation debate here.

June 29, 2008 11:25 PM
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