It’s a common knowledge that Hollywood movies are watched by people around the world, which is why those movies are much more successful than the rest. North America is the biggest market in terms of box office collection (at least for now). But there have been some movies that are made for local people of a particular country, but still managed to make box office collection comparable that of Hollywood movies. Some of these movies earned enough money to declare themselves blockbusters even by Hollywood standards. Here are top ten highest grossing non-English movies. Have a look!
20. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish)
Box Office: $104 million
The girl with the dragon tattoo is an adaptation of an excellent novel with the same name. The novel has been adapted two times for a film, once in 2009 and later in 2011 by a Hollywood filmmaker. Although the Hollywood version is almost a masterpiece, due to the presence of director David Fincher and many great actors in lead. But the Swedish version of the story has its own Aura.
The girl with the dragon tattoo is an extremely dark film, it explores subjects that normal people mostly try hard to ignore, such as sexual abuse, heartbreak and sacrifice.
If you consider the darkness of the film, the box office performance looks even more impressive. Because mainstream people probably didn’t even watch it, but still it managed to become 10th highest grossing non-English movies of all time.
19. PK (Indian)
Box Office: $140 million
PK is a Hindi language science fiction comedy film. It follows a humanoid named PK, who came from another planet. He faces a hard time understanding the concept of God, and if there’s a God then why he created such a divisive society.
Despite being a comedy film, PK reaches really deep and oftentimes touches extremely dark subjects. It contains profound messages for Indian audience to understand. Its characters and story resonated with most Indians. Excellent direction from Hirani, brilliant performance by Aamir Khan and a unique story at its core dragged a large number of Indians to theatres, and made it highest grossing Indian movie.
18. The Admiral (South Korean)
Box Office: $135 million
Set in 16th century during the historical Battle of Myeongnyang, and follows a Korean naval commander Yi Sun-sin. It recorded 10 million viewers in 12 days, achieving the milestone in shortest period of time. Also, the movie overwhelmingly surpassed Avatar’s original record of 13 million viewers to become the most watched film of all time in Korea. Made with the budget of only $18 million, it became a massive commercial hit, bringing in money almost 8 times of its production budget.
17. Amélie (French)
Box Office: $173 million
Amélie is among the must watch French language movies, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy and young waitress, who decides to help people find happiness. Her quest to spread joy leads her on a journey where she finds true love. She wants to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation. Amélie became a commercial success in North America that helped to boost its box office collection.
16. Hero (Chinese)
Box Office: $177 million
Starring Jet Li as the nameless protagonist, the film is based on the story of Jing Ke’s assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC. The film was universally acclaimed for its stunt work and messages it contains. It was also the most expensive Chinese project at its time, and it brought profit multiple times of its production budget.
15. The Monkey King 2 (Chinese)
Box Office: $193 million
After the success of the money king in 2014, a sequel was confirmed. While Donnie Yen didn’t repris his rope in this one, but still it surpassed the commercial success of the first installment. After the success of their second movie, the third installment is said to be release in 2018.
Chinese movies are gradually increasing in terms of quality of content, not only because they’re making movies with much higher budget but also filmmakers are quite talented out there.
14. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Chinese)
Box Office: $213 million
It’s Directed by one of the most legendary filmmaker of the world “Ang Lee”. Crouching tiger, hidden dragon became a surprise international success, grossing $213 million worldwide, out of which $128 million was from the United States, which helped it to become the highest-grossing foreign-language film in the American history. The film also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Taiwan) and three other Academy Awards, and was nominated for six more Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
13. Life Is Beautiful (Italian)
Box Office: $229 million
Life is beautiful is set during world war II, and follows Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who employs his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp.
Life is beautiful was acclaimed by both north American audience and critics. Large chunk of its collection came from North America. It also received several Academy awards nominations such as Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
12. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (India)
Box Office: $278 million
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is a 2017 Indian historical fiction film. The film was produced by Tollywood studio Arka Media Works. It was originally made in Telugu and Tamil and dubbed into Hindi, Malayalam, German, French, Japanese and English.
11. Dangal (India)
Box Office: $340 million
Aamir Khan’s Dangal 5th highest grossing non-English film of all time with $340 million. Dangal is India’s top worldwide grosser of all time.
10. Your Name (Japan)
Box Office: $361 million
Your Name is a 2016 Japanese animated film. It tells the story of a high school girl in rural Japan and a high school boy in Tokyo who swap bodies. With $361 million, it’s the 4th highest grossing non-English film of all time.
9. Monster Hunt (China)
Box Office: $386 million
Monster Hunt is a 2015 Chinese-Hong Kong 3D fantasy action comedy adventure film. With $386 million, it’s the third highest grossing non-English film of all time.
8. The Intouchables (French)
Box Office: $427 million
Despite receiving both positive and negative reviews from critics, it made an excellent box office collection for a non-English film. It broke several records for French language film, such as highest number of tickets sold worldwide for a film made in France. It’s the most successful french film in several countries. Clearly, $427 million collection is not a joke for a film like this, it is incredible. But if you consider the budget of mere $10 million, it sounds even more impressive.
7. Dying to Survive (Chinese)
Box office: $453 million
Chinese comedy-drama film of 2018 Dying to Survive grossed $453 million worldwide. The story of film based on the real life of a Chinese leukemia patient “Lu Yong” who smuggled cancer medicine from India for 1,000 Chinese cancer sufferers in 2004.
6. Detective Chinatown 2 (Chinese)
Box office: US$544.1 million
It is a 2018 Chinese comedy-mystery buddy film. This film has grossed over US$544 million worldwide, making it the sixth highest grossing non-English movies of all time. Also it’s the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time in China. Firstly, it’s a sequel to Detective Chinatown of 2015. Secondly, it’s sequel, Detective Chinatown 3, is set to be released on January, 2020.
5. The Mermaid (Chinese)
Box Office: $553 million
In 2016, Hollywood has finally started to notice the true power and potential of Chinese movie-goers, and some industry analyst suggest that China will surpass the North America in near future, in terms of box office collection for movies.
The mermaid is the only film in the world to cross more than $500 million mark without receiving a wide release in north America, and that saying a lot about China. Undoubtedly, it broke several box office records, that were previously held by Hollywood movies in the Mainland China.
4. Operation Red Sea (Chinese)
Box office: $579.2 million
The 2018 Chinese action war film comes at no. 4 with $579 million grossed. This film is said to be “China’s first modern naval film”.
3. The Wandering Earth (Chinese)
Box office: $699.8 million
Another Chinese movie of 2019 in the ranking of highest grossing movies. It is a science fiction film loosely based on the 2000 novella of the same name by multi-award-winning author Liu Cixin. With more than $699.8 million, it is the third highest grossing film.
2. Ne Zha (Chinese)
Box office: $728.99 million
Monster Hunt is a 2019 Chinese 3D fantasy action adventure film. With $728.99 million, it’s the second highest grossing non-English movies of all time.
1. Wolf Warrior 2 (Chinese)
Box office: US$874 million
Starring Wu Jing as Leng Feng, a former Chinese special forces soldier, the film is based on the story after the events of Wolf Warrior. The film was universally acclaimed for its patriotic plot, special effects, action sequences and the cast’s performances. It was also the most expensive Chinese project at its time, and it brought profit multiple times of its production budget. Grossing over US$874 million, making it the highest grossing non-English movies of all time. In addition, it is the highest-grossing Chinese film ever released. Likewise highest grossing movie of the year 2017.