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‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ and DreamWorks Head to China for New Partnership

DreamWorks Animation

From what we’re hearing, Shane Black’s ‘Iron Man 3’ isn’t the only production in Hollywood’s pipeline that is looking to China for creative and financial partnerships. DreamWorks Animation will recruit Chinese co-producers for the third installment of its ‘Kung Fu Panda’ franchise, targeting a 2016 release date.

According to Variety, DreamWorks Animation made the announcement at a news conference in Shanghai, where they revealed that China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment will contribute to the sequel.

Here’s a bit of a surprise, though. The trade says DWA will own 45% of the company established to house the production, while the Chinese partners will hold a majority share at 55%. In addition to backing the latest ‘Kung Fu Panda’ installment, the partners “are also planning to develop an entertainment district in Shanghai’s Xuhui district, modeled on Broadway, or London’s West End,” Variety notes.

The partnership will only flourish over time. It’s the joint company – tentatively titled Oriental DreamWorks – plans to release one animated feature per year beginning in 2016, with an increase to two animated features per year beginning in 2018. Execs said the company “aims to become the largest animation production base in China and also will explore opportunities in online games, musicals and consumer products.”

As DreamWorks negotiates behind-the-scenes finances, fans are left to speculate on the direction of the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ series. Without revealing too much, the second film ended on a bit of a spoiler regarding Po (Jack Black) and his family’s heritage. It’s likely that the third film will explore that storyline… and given the fact that ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ earned $665 million at the global box office, the sequel is bound to be anticipated by millions of fans.

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