Panda Kicks Butt at B.O.

Reuters is reporting that Dreamworks’ “Kung Fu Panda” made its way to the top of the box office over the weekend, bringing in roughly $60 million during its first three days. Distributer Paramount claims it was expecting a number in the high $40s.

Columbia Pictures also exceeded expectations with their entry for the weekend, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”. It earned the no. 2 spot with an average of $40 million.

“Kung Fu Panda” was powered by rave reviews and an underserved family audience; in the other, Sandler could count on young male fans unlikely to be swayed by negative notices from puzzled critics.

As it turned out, both played beyond their traditional audiences. DreamWorks Animation said 71 percent of the audience was older than 17, while Columbia said women accounted for 51 percent of the “Zohan” crowd.

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