Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t set to hit theaters until January 2016, but that hasn’t stopped hardcore fans from counting down the days. And as has been made evident by the latest development in KFP3 marketing, no one is more aware of fans’ anticipation than DreamWorks.
Just a few days ago, an Empire article showcased the film’s new cinematic poster. It features a plus-sized Po balancing in a split position over two pillars with the admittedly clever line: “The Weight is Over.”
Just like another successful DreamWorks franchise (Shrek), this particular series continues to draw in a new generation of younger fans with every film while retaining the audience that enjoyed the first movie. Those who were children when the first movie was released are still excited to see the third animated film, even though now, as young adults, they’re far beyond the movie’s target demographic.
But what’s more surprising is the fact that other industries are taking advantage of Kung Fu Panda‘s continued popularity. Not only that, but many of the industry patrons being very same young adults that first became interested in the franchise as children.
According to a USA Today article, Royal Caribbean recently opened a new Kung Fu Panda-themed restaurant on their Quantum of the Seas cruise ship. Guests who stop by the restaurant can enjoy Asian-inspired dishes such as dim sum and noodle bowls along with desserts of custard tarts and sesame balls.
The restaurant is just the latest in a wide-variety of creative panda-centric products. In addition to the expected toys and comic books, there’s also an interactive cookbook app available from the iTunes store. It teaches users how to create classic Chinese dishes, and yes, that includes those mentioned in the films.
It seems that just the image of an animated panda is enough to get people’s attention. Even online games specifically made for adults are featuring panda animations to draw in players. One of the games from Betfair’s casino platform, titled China Shores, uses a panda as one of the main themes. The animated animal spins and smiles at the player each time it is included in a winning sequence. It’s probably one of the only ways that fans could make money off their love for the gentle giants.
With an excess of products, there’s no doubt that the franchise runs the risk of over-exposure. But as a big fan of the black and white bears, and the movies, I’m certainly not complaining. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with a gold-wielding bear that I know is just itching to be matched with some yin-yang symbols and Chinese lantern.