[h=1]'Kung Fu Panda 2' becomes highest-grossing film directed by a woman[/h] by John Young Categories: Animation, Box Office, Movie Biz Comments 25 Add comment Image Credit: David Gabber/PR Photos One small step for giant panda, one giant leap for female filmmakers. With a worldwide tally of $637.6 million and counting, Kung Fu Panda 2 has become the highest-grossing film ever directed by a woman. In this case, the honor goes to Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who made her directorial debut with the well-reviewed Panda 2 after working on the first Kung Fu Panda as head of story and the director of that films opening dream sequence. Panda 2 broke the record by passing Phyllida Lloyds Mamma Mia!, which earned $609.8 million globally in 2008. Although Panda 2 has been a slight box-office disappointment domestically, grossing $164.3 million here compared to the originals $215.4 million, it has been a firecracker overseas. Thats especially true in China, where Panda 2 has collected a staggering $91.5 million. Just three years ago, the original Panda made only $26 million in the country. Clearly there was an increased interest in the sequel, but it also goes to show you just how much of a booming market China has become. As for the domestic record for female filmmakers, thats slightly more complicated. Domestically, the biggest movie helmed by a woman was 2001′s Shrek ($267.7 million), which was co-directed by Vicky Jenson. But if youre looking for the highest-grossing film that was directed by one woman, thatd be 2009′s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel ($219.6 million), made by Betty Thomas. And if you want to exclude pictures with animated protagonists, then it becomes Catherine Hardwickes Twilight, which drained $192.8 million in 2008. Summer Movies: Get the latest news, photos, and more But for now, the spotlight deserves to shine on Nelson, who was born in South Korea, immigrated to the United States at the age of 4, and grew up in Southern California watching martial-arts movies and drawing perpetually. With Kung Fu Panda 2, Nelson has combined those two interests and guided the result to nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars. Thatd be an impressive outcome for any filmmaker, but considering that only seven percent of Hollywood directors are female, her achievement becomes in the words of Po pure awesomeness.