Kung Fu Panda
So, anyway, it’s June 2017, which is a great time to talk about the movies of 2016.
I’ve done this five times before, the ground rules should be clear, but a quick reminder for the uninformed: all movies are my choices, not Flayrah’s, choices are not necessarily furry, movies came out theatrically in 2016 and that’s about it. Usually I do a list of preliminaries, but I’ll save that for Twitter; I don’t remember how to code the boxes, and I’ve changed accounts so I can’t just copy and paste the code, anyway.
Now, without further ado, let the bodies hit the floor!
According to box office tracking site Box Office Mojo, Zootopia has just passed Deadpool to become the highest grossing movie of 2016. It's still early in the year, and Zootopia will most likely have relinquished the crown by 2017, but the beginning of the year has seen furries and superheroes battle it out for dominance at the box office.
As of press time, the current weekly box office champ, on its second weekend, is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a superhero showdown of franchise-launching proportions; when the dust settles, it will probably come out ahead of Zootopia, though some film pundits have sensed weakness. The film, while doing massive box office by any standards, has still underperformed compared to predictions both weeks, and has had massive box office drops both from day to day and week to week. Zootopia, while never as massive an opener, has sustained smaller drop-offs and consistently overperformed compared to box office pundit predictions.
But the story of 2016's box office hasn't just been Batman v Superman v Zootopia; as noted, the previous biggest box office of the year was Deadpool, while a look back at the weekly charts reveals its been furries versus superheroes since nearly the beginning of the year.
The word that best describes the Kung Fu Panda film series, in my opinion, is "classy."
Which is surprising, because DreamWorks Animation was not known as a classy studio. The studio got its start with Shrek (a movie studio founder Jeffrey Katzenberg consider's DreamWorks' "North Star," whatever that means), which didn't introduce the fart joke to mainstream animation, but certainly played a big part in popularizing it. It's not a classy movie, is what I'm saying, and it has no pretensions otherwise. And so, for seven years, that was DreamWorks, where the world of animated movies was you were either Disney or Pixar, or you were, at best, the angry rejects who could only hope to stand out by virtue of crassness.
Enter Kung Fu Panda, a movie that features Jack Black as an overweight anthropomorphic panda with a nervous eating habit. The fart jokes should have written themselves, right? I went into that movie expecting a fun "romp," an innocuous time waster with a couple friends. Even as a furry, a DreamWorks animation movie, even one about anthropomorphic animals, meant it was, at best, going to be okay. Instead, it felt like a lightning strike; this was a real movie. It respected its characters, its setting, its story, its audience. And then, somehow, the sequel was even better.
So, anyway, Kung Fu Panda 3 is also pretty good. And also way classier than my headline, which contains the word fart. I guess you could describe that headline as "gassy." And this review now contains more fart jokes than the entire Kung Fu Panda trilogy. Isn't that funny?
2016 is shaping up to be a benchmark year for furry movies. Though movies featuring talking or otherwise anthropomorphic animals are hardly uncommon, this year looks to be exceptionally full, and many of the movies coming out have impressive pedigrees. It should also be noted that there is a ridiculously high number of foxes featured, for those of us who find that important.
Cartoon Brew has a list of 47 animated movies planned to be released next year, where most of these movies are drawn from; not all of them contain furry characters, but many do. There are also a few live action titles that can be counted on to be furry. Notably, 2016 release Zootopia's first trailer provided a list of unique features it contained, including bipedal, tech-using, clothed talking animals in a human free world; though these attributes are uncommon, if not actually original, 2016 will contain six movies that meet these requirements (Kung Fu Panda 3, Rock Dog, Sing, Sly Cooper, Spark and Zootopia).
The following list is mostly aimed towards an audience living in the United States of America; release dates listed are American. Some of the movies listed do not have solid release dates, and may fail to be shown; others may have had release dates outside the U.S. earlier this year. Also, movies listed contain only anthropomorphic animal movies; movies featuring anthropomorphic characters not based on specific animals are not listed.
I was beginning to worry there for a moment, but Rocket Raccoon will return in his own comic book series again next year. Stupid awkward Marvel "reboot" thingy.
Every month, in addition to the solicits we'll get to in a minute, Preview runs top 100 bestsellers list; it's a few months behind, so it's a bit confusing, especially when you remember this is the October issue which comes out in September with solicits for December, and the top 100 list is for August. So, anyway, furry comics that made the list for August 2015 include:
- Howard the Human #1 at 87,
- Howard the Duck #5 at 82,
- Guardians of Knowhere #3 at 29 and
- Guardians of Knowhere #2 at 24.
About two comic lists back, there was some confusion about the top 100 bestsellers list Previews also runs, which are also covered in these lists, so from now on we'll try and explain that before just starting up a random list of titles from a month that isn't the actual month being previewed. That would begin this month, but there weren't enough furry titles to make the list to make it worthwhile.
LionsGate Entertainment, best known, at least furry and animation-wise, for Alpha and Omega and its various direct to video sequels, has released a trailer for its January 15, 2016 theatrical movie, Norm of the North, which features a polar bear taking a trip to New York City to save the Arctic ice cap.
At least the scene where titular polar bear Norm meets a man in a polar bear suit is interesting from a furry standpoint.
Perhaps more exciting than the trailer itself is the announcement of the release date, which sees the movie go up directly against The Nut Job 2; it seems release date power plays aren't just for superhero movies, anymore. It may be interesting to see if either movie "flinches" in this cinematic game of chicken.
As if in response to Disney's Zootopia featuring the groan-worthy tagline "Like nothing you've seen be-fur," DreamWorks Animation has finally shed some light on its Kung Fu Panda 3 in an article from USA Today. Seeing as how Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third movie in a trilogy that comes out in January 2016 and Zootopia is a March 2016 movie, that makes the tagline wildly inaccurate as well as groan-worthy. Furries are looking forward to both, but, hey, it's a bad tagline.
Spoiler warning: The USA Today article linked may have bluntly spoiled a possible subplot, which is discussed below the break.
Update (6/19): An official English trailer appears, and it is hilarious.
As you may have heard floating through the air in Hollywood lately, Dreamworks Animation has been worrying a lot of people lately(notably investors) with a lack of hit movies. Several of the studio’s offerings over the last two years have not performed as hoped or expected at the box office — and now, Penguins of Madagascar is not exactly on track to set any new records either. Even How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was a blockbuster earlier this year by most standards, was not as much of one as many had expected. All of this seems to have made Dreamworks rather skittish about their upcoming slate of films — especially when it comes to the competition. To that end the studio recently announced that Kung Fu Panda 3, originally slated for release in December of 2015, has been pushed back four months to March of 2016 — presumably to keep out of the way of Star Wars VII, or at least that’s the buzz around town. Interestingly, that move puts the new date for Kung Fu Panda 3 just two weeks after Disney is scheduled to release Zootopia. It seems like 2016 just got a little more interesting — and 2015, perhaps less so.
Two new full-color one-shot comic books from Ape Entertainment’s Kizoic line are set to hit stores later this month. Both of them are tied in to Kizoic’s successful Dreamworks Animation comics. And both of them have long titles! In Kung Fu Panda: Tale of Two Noodle Shops, “Business at Mr. Ping’s noodle shop has been booming since his adopted son Po became the legendary Dragon Warrior. But when a new noodle shop opens in the Valley Of Peace, touting nightly entertainment by the Dragon Wizard, can Po lure back his father’s clientele? Or has his act gone as stale as noodles left out overnight?” Find out in a story written by Troy Dye and illustrated by Massimo Asaro. Check it out at Things From Another World. And then, there’s The Penguins of Madagascar: Mortzilla vs. King Kowalski, written by Jackson Lanzing with art by Bob Renzas and Antonio Campo. Well, frankly, we don’t think we can tell you about it better than the cover does! Either way, find out more at Mile High Comics.
Furry comics that made the top 100 best-seller’s list for May 2013 include:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #22 at 78,
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #7 at 68
- and Regular Show #1 at 56.
Previews runs a top 100 best selling monthly comics list; they’re obviously a bit behind, as this issue contains November’s. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 was ranked at 15, making it the most bought book not from DC or Marvel. So, way to go bronies!