DreamWorks Animation's cartoon comedy "Kung Fu Panda" began being shown on the big screen from Sunday in China's earthquake-hit Sichuan Province, home of endangered giant pandas, after several days of postponement.
The film made its debut on Saturday in the provincial capital of Chengdu, and was released from Sunday in other quake-hit cities such as Mianyang, Deyang and Dujiangyan, said Wang Jianping, of the Sichuan Pacific Cinema Circuit Co. Ltd.
The film about a panda in ancient China who becomes an unlikely martial-arts hero was expected to rake in 1 million yuan (145,348.8 U.S. dollars) in Chengdu on the first day, a new high for cartoon movies in the city, Wang said.
"Kung Fu Panda" features the voices of Hollywood A-list stars Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie as well as Chinese action star Jackie Chan and American-born Chinese actress Lucy Liu.
"I'm fond of the portly and naive panda, which made me laugh all the time while watching the film," said Liu Jin, a Chengdu citizen.
The film made its premiere on Thursday in Beijing and was shown from Friday across the country. Its box office has exceeded 10 million yuan in China.
But the release of "Kung Fu Panda" had been postponed in Sichuan to "appease the survivors" of the May 12 quake, according to the the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
The 8.0-magnitude quake has left more than 69,000 people dead, more than 18,000 others missing and millions homeless.
It has also severely damaged the habitat of giant pandas in Sichuan, such as the Wolong nature reserve, only about 30 km from the epicenter. A 9-year-old female giant panda in Wolong was killed in the quake.
Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species. Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show around 1,590 panda live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan. China has about 239 giant pandas in captivity. （Xinhua）