Kung Fu Panda, an animated family film starring Jack Black as a slacker panda bear who dreams of becoming a kung fu master, took the number one spot at the box office this past weekend, beating You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, which stars Adam Sandler as an Israeli secret service agent who dreams of becoming a hairstylist in New York City. Although Panda brought in $60 million to Zohan’s $40 million, not all critics view this as a big defeat for Sandler. (AP)
What the commentators said
“Kung Fu Panda kicked Adam Sandler’s butt at the box office this weekend,” said Carl DiOrio in the Hollywood Reporter. Not only did it make $20 million more than Zohan, “the DreamWorks Animation comedy opened even bigger than expected.” And it’s no surprise: Jack Black helped bring in older demographics than most family-friendly movies usually do.
Box office analysts said “top honors really could have gone either way,” said Dean Goodman in Reuters. Kung Fu Panda “was powered by rave reviews and an underserved family audience.” But “Sandler could count on young male fans unlikely to be swayed by negative notices from puzzled critics.” In the end, “both played beyond their traditional audiences.”
This past weekend wasn’t exactly a loss for Sandler, said Eugene Novikov in the blog Cinematical. Nobody was expecting Zohan to take the number one spot, and the movie’s “$40 million opening weekend is at least par for Sandler, roughly tying Click’s opening weekend, and beating I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry by a handy $6 million.”