By Matthew Creith | Posted
Actor Jack Black is one of the only comedians working today who can safely say he is a multi-generational talent in the entertainment business. Along with partner Kyle Gass, Black is one half of the singer-songwriter duo that make up Tenacious D, winners of numerous awards, including the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. But Black is probably best known for his onscreen performances, especially in films where he continues to collaborate with longtime friend Richard Linklater. He thrilled audiences for more than two decades in comedic film performances like High fidelity, Shallow hall, school of rock, Vacations, Thunder in the tropicsand the Jumanji franchise. Black frequently collaborates with Dwayne Johnson and Tim Robbins and has worked with talented directors like Peter Jackson. Today, one of Black Jack’s craziest films is causing a stir on streaming platforms in the United States.
According to FlixPatrol, kung fu panda reached epic new heights by entering the Top 10 Most Streamed Movies on HBO Max over the past week. The animated feature that stars Jack Black joins other well-known titles in HBO Max’s Top 10, including Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Belfast, My Fat Greek Weddingand pulp Fiction. The original 2008 film spawned several sequels and three television series through DreamWorks Animation, which Jack Black has lent his voice to in many incarnations of his now famous character, Po Ping. There was even a holiday special, Kung Fu Panda Vacationwhich aired on NBC in 2010 and saw many of the film’s actors reprise their roles, bringing NBC to nearly 6 million viewers at the time.
Upon its theatrical release in the summer of 2008, kung fu panda became an instant classic and successful venture for actor Jack Black. Featuring a cast of star actors who seemed overqualified for their roles at the time, the film features a wide array of performers via voiceover, including two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman, international sensation Angelina Jolie, TV’s Ian McShane, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, martial arts expert Jackie Chan, David Cross and the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Duncan died in 2012 and was unable to reprise his role as Commander Vachir in any of the film’s sequels. kung fu panda went on to gross over $630 million at the box office against a budget of $130 million.
kung fu panda was a hit with critics and audiences alike when he starred Jack Black as Po, a clumsy but determined panda and kung fu enthusiast who lives in ancient China. Po is accidentally named Dragon Warrior, a term relating to a mythical hero who wields incredible strength and power. He is tasked with protecting his home, the Valley of Peace, and must defend himself and his surroundings against the forces of evil that arrive to test his power. Rotten Tomatoes lists the film as Certified Fresh with a Tomatometer rating of 87% based on 190 critical reviews, as well as an Audience Score of 83% based on over 250,000 fan ratings on the site. Similarly, Metacritic currently ranks kung fu panda with a rating of 74 based on 36 reviews and a user score of 8.3 based on 621 ratings from the public. Overall, it generally denotes generally favorable reviews from critics and universal recognition from viewers.
Critical acclaim for kung fu panda and Jack Black’s performance as Po received acclaim during awards season in 2008, as DreamWorks attempted to promote its fantastic cast and original score. The film was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature but lost to Pixar’s Favorite Movie WALL-E. kung fu panda became the biggest opening for a non-sequel film in DreamWorks history, and it was the highest-grossing animated feature film of 2008. World-renowned composer Hans Zimmer lent his musical talents to mark the film alongside John Powell, a collaboration that would also continue in Kung Fu Panda 2. Zimmer then scored Kung Fu Panda 3 himself. A new sequel movie, Kung Fu Panda 4is currently in the works, with Jack Black returning as the voice of Po and a tentative release date of March 2024.