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‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ release date pushed back because of ‘Star Wars’

LOS ANGELES — DreamWorks Animation has moved the release of “Kung Fu Panda 3” to March 18, 2016, leaving its previous Dec. 23, 2015 date, where “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is expected to dominate.

A specific reason for the move wasn’t given, but Disney will release “The Force Awakens,” directed by J.J. Abrams, on Dec. 18, 2015.

Twentieth Century Fox releases DWA’s toons.

So far, DWA also has “”Home,” dated for March 27, followed by “B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations,” out that summer. The latter film is also expected to find a new home to scare up audiences, because of Marvel’s “The Avengers” sequel.

The new date for “Kung Fu Panda 3” means that DWA will need to find a new birth for “Boss Baby,” also dated for March 18, 2016.

DWA had previously said it would rethink its release strategy shortly after Marvel introduced plans and release dates for 10 new movies through 2019.

At the time, titles from the toon studio that were thought to be especially impacted were “B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations,” currently scheduled for June 5, 2015, and “Trolls,” on Nov. 4, 2016.

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” represents the biggest problem as it’s planned to go out on Nov. 4, 2016 — the same date as “Trolls.” “B.O.O.” is wedged between “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man,” out in May and July of 2015.

“We continue to look at our schedule here and the competitive marketplace, and we will remain flexible in the release of these movies and the dating of these films,” Katzenberg said in October.

But now, with “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “Star Wars” also is proving a problem, given the similar audience the new installments of the franchise is expected to attract.

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