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Suddenly, DreamWorks Animation has gotten extremely serious about Kung Fu Panda 3. While the second film was considered a moderate disappointment at the box office, under-performing by 3D animation standards, the studio has now announced that they have not only bumped up the release date by four months, but have attached a whole new group of voice actors.
While Kung Fu Panda 3 was originally going to be released on March 18, 2016, the studio has decided to swap the project with the in-development Mumbai Musical and will now have it come out on December 23, 2015. The move makes Panda 3 the first in the franchise to not be released during the summer, but the film will still likely get a boost from kids being out of school - albeit this time on holiday break.
As for the new cast members, Deadline has revealed that Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson will be joining the Kung Fu Panda 3 crew, which includes Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, and David Cross. Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed Kung Fu Panda 2, will be back as director, though the report doesn't mention who will be writing the screenplay (though Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who scripted the last movie, will be co-producers). Adding another twist to the development, the project will be the first co-production with the China-based Oriental DreamWorks.
While this will be the first time that Mikkelsen has voiced an animated character, Wilson played Raz in Ice Age: Continental Drift, while Cranston previously worked with Dreamworks as Vitaly the tiger in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.