January is a depressing place for movie houses. At this point, the holidays are over, and most moviegoers just see what they didn't get a chance to see in between Christmas and New Year's Day. The studios know this, and they usually release films that they don't expect a lot, which is odd that Dreamworks Animation is releasing Kung Fu Panda 3 with a January Release Date.
The first two Kung Fu Panda films were both released in the summer, and they were both hits. Many will say that Kung Fu Panda 2 was better than the first, and it set itself up for another sequel. It was in the second film that Po (Jack Black) learned of his origins, and how his parents didn't abandon him but died while trying to save him from a Panda genocide (for lack of a better word). It is then revealed to the audience that Po's father, as well as several other pandas, are alive as well.
The trailer for Kung Fun Panda 3 shows that Po does meet his father, Li Shan. There is even a quick teaser trailer where nothing is seen, but a blank screen and heavy breathing as Li (Bryan Cranston) says that "I am your father." It's a clear homage to Star Wars, and Kung Fu Panda 3 will premiere on January 29, 2016 as Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens will still be making money in the theaters.
Mixed in with the plot of Po reuniting with his fellow pandas is also a storyline where Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells Po that he must learn to be a teacher. Po doesn't seem to want to be a teacher, but the antagonistic presence of Kai forces Po to train his village in the ways of Kung Fu to protect themselves.
The gang is all back with Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan) Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and Mantis (Seth Rogen). In addition to Li Shan, there will also be other Panda characters introduced, included Mei Mei, voiced by Kate Hudson.
According to Xinhuanet News, Jennifer Yuh and Alessandro Carloni directed Kung Fu Panda 3, and they were inspired by a visit to a panda base in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
So far, the trailer and the storyline seem good, and it seems hard to believe that Dreamworks didn't give Kung Fu Panda 3 a summer release date. It is possible that they don't consider it as good as the second one and want to just "get it out of the way." However, it could be a start of something new as January could be a time when blockbusters will be in the theaters not during the summer and the holidays, but in January.