DreamWorks Animation in talks for "Panda" sequel

Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:25pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said on Wednesday the movie studio was in talks to make a sequel to box office hit "Kung Fu Panda" and could make an announcement within two months.

"We've started conversations about it, and I think in the next 30 or 60 days, we'll be able to talk completely about that," Katzenberg told Reuters, when asked about a follow-up to a film that has raked in $560 million in global ticket sales.

Set in China, "Kung Fu Panda" follows the journey of a clumsy-yet-lovable Panda named Po, voiced by Hollywood funnyman Jack Black, in his efforts to become a kung fu warrior.

Katzenberg was speaking to reporters at a screening for portions of the studio's upcoming animated film "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," set for a U.S. release on November 7.

The original "Madagascar" in 2005, which tells of animals on the loose from New York's Central Zoo, had been DreamWorks Animation's biggest hit for a non-sequel movie with $530 million in global ticket sales until being passed by "Panda" in recent weeks.

A "Panda" sequel will likely come as good news to DreamWorks Animation investors who saw shares in the studio slump in late July after the company warned of higher international marketing costs.

The company's stock had traded above $30 a share in July before slipping to about $28 when the company warned on July 30. Since then, the shares have reclaimed ground and were at $30.44, off 40 cents, or 1.3 percent, in late Wednesday trade.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Braden Reddall)

<p>Jack Black poses during a photocall to promote his animated film "Kung Fu Panda" in Madrid June 24, 2008. REUTERS/Susana Vera</p>