The film is also the first animated feature film that has grossed over RMB100m, which is generally seen as a benchmark for blockbuster films in China.
Previously, the best-selling animation film in China was Garfield 2 in 2006, which grossed $7.25m (RMB58m). And the second biggest was The Lion King in 1995 with $5.13m (RMB41m).
Kung Fu Panda was released in mainland China on June 20 with 530 prints including digital screens and IMAX screens. In Sichuan province, the screening was delayed for one day due to protests over the film using Chinese elements such as Kung Fu and giant Pandas, which originate in Sichuan. However, the box office performance was not affected by the delay.
Compared to North America and other international markets, animation films have not been big sellers in mainland China. Analysts believe that it's because the majority of Chinese families have not developed the habit of watching animated films as a family activity. In the past four years, most animation films have grossed no more than $5.8m, no matter how big the films have been in the rest of the world.
Pixar's 2003 international hit Finding Nemo grossed $4.35m (RMB34.8m); last year, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles grossed $5.02m (RMB37m); Ratatouille took in only $2.85m (RMB21m), and Shrek 3 was only released in digital cinemas, where it took $1.49m (RMB11m).
Animation is also becoming more popular within China's production sector. Last year, Disney-China Film co-production The Secret Of The Magic Gourd grossed $2.75m (RMB20.65m). And this year so far, there have been three local animations released in China. Calabash Brothers, which took in $1.17m (RMB8m), is the top local animation film so far.
Top animation films in mainland China market:
1. Kung Fu Panda - $15.01m
2. Garfield 2 - $7.25m
3. The Lion King - $5.13m
4. TMNT - $5.02m
5. Ice Age 2 - $ 4.44m
6. Finding Nemo - $4.35m
7. Toy Story - 3.92m
8. Cars - $2.86m
9. Ratatouille - $2.85m
10. Secret Of The Magic Gourd - $2.75m