Helmers talk 'Kung Fu Panda'

3:27 PM PST 06/01/2008 by Carolyn Giardina, AP

Film premiere featured stars, family-friendly activities

A massive helium balloon of DreamWorks' "Kung Fu Panda," flew high above Grauman's Chinese Theatre at the film's Los Angeles premiere Sunday morning.

In front of the theater, Jack Black, who voiced panda Po, and Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo got the celebration going, singing the film's rendition of "Kung Fu Fighting."

"Having Jack Black as the voice of Po has been genuinely magic." DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said. "I don't know that there's ever been a better marriage between an actor-comedian and a piece of animation. It's right up there with Donkey and Eddie (Murphy in the 'Shrek' films)."

The Asian-themed, family-friendly premiere covered a block of Hollywood Boulevard and featured a breakfast buffet as well as activities named for characters from the film such as "Tigress' dance class" and "Viper's Chinese charms."

Helmers John Stevenson and Mark Osborne explained that the film is about self-empowerment.

"Trust that you have everything inside of you to succeed," Stevenson said. "It doesn't matter what your shape is or what your background is."

Added Osborne with a smile: "It doesn't matter if you've never made an animated feature film before for a giant studio with a huge, million-dollar premiere. You can do it."
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