Special Report

The Most Successful Foreign Films in America

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

25. Brotherhood of the Wolf (2002)
> Domestic ticket sales: $17.8 million
> International ticket sales: $94.0 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.0/10 (66,585 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 73% (123 votes)
> Directed by: Christophe Gans

Director Christophe Gans blends multiple genre tropes to deliver this French-language historical thriller, which draws loose inspiration from real-life events. The story takes place in 18th-century rural France and follows two men as they hunt for a murderous beast. “Its heart is in the horror-monster-sex-fantasy-special effects tradition,” wrote Roger Ebert in his 3-star review.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

24. Volver (2006)
> Domestic ticket sales: $18.0 million
> International ticket sales: $101.6 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.6/10 (101,263 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (173 votes)
> Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar re-teamed with frequent collaborator Penélope Cruz for this award-winning Spanish dramedy. It follows a woman (Cruz) back to the small town of her upbringing, where she confronts her tragic past. The story draws loose inspiration from a fictional character’s rejected novel in the previous Almodovar film “The Flowers of My Secret.”

Source: Courtesy of Toho

23. Shall We Dance? (1997)
> Domestic ticket sales: $19.0 million
> International ticket sales: $224.0 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.7/10 (11,138 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 47% (157 votes)
> Directed by: Masayuki Suô

A married accountant Shohei Sugiyama (Kôji Yakusho) exits his comfort zone and enters the world of ballroom dancing in this Japanese dramedy. With his newfound passion comes a renewed sense of purpose. It was the second-highest grossing film of the year in Japan and also a respectable box office performer in the USA.

Source: Courtesy of Skouras Pictures

22. My Life as a Dog (1987)
> Domestic ticket sales: $19.6 million
> International ticket sales: Not available
> IMDb audience score: 7.6/10 (21,138 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (34 votes)
> Directed by: Lasse Hallström

This Swedish coming-of-age dramedy, which takes place in the 1950s, is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical book series. It sends a young boy (Anton Glanzelius) to a small town, where he’s exposed to a different side of life. Director Hallström would go on to helm a number of North American films, including 1993’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and 2009’s “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.”

Source: Courtesy of Embassy Pictures

21. Fanny and Alexander (1983)
> Domestic ticket sales: $19.7 million
> International ticket sales: Not available
> IMDb audience score: 8.1/10 (63,492 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (41 votes)
> Directed by: Ingmar Bergman

Abridged from a much-longer mini-series, Bergman’s Swedish autobiographical drama tells the story of two privileged siblings and their eccentric family. A hit in the director’s native country, it was also one of the era’s highest-grossing foreign-language films in the U.S. It went on to win four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film.

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