Jack Black's animated film grossed an impressive $60 mil to beat Adam Sandler's ''You Don't Mess With the Zohan'' and finish first on a strong weekend at the box office

By Joshua Rich

June 10, EW

On a robust weekend when the four top movies each earned over $20 million and the cumulative box office take was way up from a year ago, it was Kung Fu Panda that led the way. With an impressive $60 million debut gross, the Jack Black animated film easily finished in first place, beating Adam Sandler's strong new flick You Don't Mess With the Zohan and the long-legged holdovers Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Sex and the City.

For Kung Fu Panda, that blockbuster $60 mil opening ranked No. 9 on the all-time list of animated premieres, and it was the best yet for a non-sequel from DreamWorks Animation (only Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third banked more on their first weekends). It was almost exactly in line with the $60.1 mil that Pixar's Cars bowed with on this weekend two years ago. It was the best opening ever for a movie starring Jack Black's voice...or body (topping King Kong's $50.1 mil). It was the third No. 1 movie to be distributed by Paramount in this six-week-old summer (Iron Man and Indy 4 were the others; none were produced by Paramount, however). And, yep, it was exactly — exactly! — what I predicted. Judging by the film's nice A- CinemaScore review from a crowd that, remarkably, skewed older than many pundits anticipated (45 percent of its audience was over the age of 25), Kung Fu Panda should cruise to big box office returns for several weeks, until Wall-E opens at the end of the month.

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image: KUNG FU PANDA Jack Black's animated movie was a force to be reckoned with at the box office this weekend (EW).