Our favourite food loving, belly bulging, ninja panda is back in Dreamworks’ latest upcoming project, Kung Fu Panda 3.

The animation company, who brought us Shrek and Antz, have teamed up with Chinese state-owned local partners to co-produce the next Kung Fu Panda film.

The family-fun film is hoped to enhance the entertainment district in Shanghai, as well as expand Hollywood’s fast-growing ties to China.

The third film is set to be produced in China and is hoped to be released in 2016 according to DreamWorks Animation SKG Ltd.

A cast has not been confirmed as yet, but it has been rumoured that comedy actor, Jack Black who’s noted for his roles in Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny and School of Rock, will reprise his role and voice Po the panda.

The Kung Fu Panda films are about a podgy panda who runs his family’s noodle soup company, before becoming a martial arts hero, thanks to his bulging belly which he uses to bounce enemies off.

The first two Kung Fu Panda  films – which have had a star studded voice cast including Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu – were hugely popular in China. These light-hearted animations prompted a debate about why a Hollywood studio was more successful than the country’s own studios at creating a successful movie based around Chinese themes.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is said to be a joint effort between the Chinese and American film industry and Oriental Dreamworks plan to release one to three films per year. It’s also been reported that they will employ as many as 2,000 production professionals so they can become the largest animation production base in China. In addition, the company are said to be thinking about exploring opportunities into online games, musicals and consumer products.

Shanghai is planning a new entertainment district in the Xuhui area which has been modelled on London’s West End. The country has invested more than 20bn yuan (£2.01 billion) to build new cinemas, theatres, restaurants and tourist attractions.

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