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The Highest-Grossing Movies You Probably Haven't Seen

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English-language films dominate the international box office, and they are almost universally American-made. That doesn't mean blockbuster foreign films don't get produced, but it just shows that there isn't much of a two-way cultural street. Sure, the occasional outlier, like Parasite, blows up our mentions here in the States, but even the art films that make it in America don't necessarily reflect the popcorn-movie culture of other nations. It takes a lot for a non-US release to perform into nine digits internationally: The movie has to hit on a universal scale, and find appeal with a kind of all-encompassing human interest that can overcome cultural barriers. None of this is to say, however, that it doesn't happen. America still may be king of the international box office but, in the past five years, a number of foreign films have begun to generate the same kind of box office draw on their own, home-grown terms.

If you want to have a truly global film palate, you can jump on that right now with the list we've put together here. This is not a direct ranking based on box office receipts — if we strictly did the six highest-grossing non-English movies on Earth, they would all be Chinese, so we've added a few other countries' movies from a little lower on the list that have still made big bank. Here are some of the highest-grossing international box office hits you've probably never seen.

Zhan Lang 2

The single highest-grossing international film most Americans have probably never seen or heard of is 2017's Zhan Lang 2 (Wolf Warrior 2), as it only had a limited North American theater release. With revenue coming from all over China and southeast Asia, its all-time international box office take is over $800 million, putting it head and shoulders above most domestic releases' revenue, and making it the kind of movie that, in its locality, everybody saw. Zhan Lang 2 is a pure Chinese action blockbuster and a sequel to the also-majorly-successful 2015 film, Zhan Lang.

We know that, sometimes, foreign films can be a little intimidating for those trying to mentally bridge the cultural divide, but all Americans can understand a great big (and slightly jingoistic) action film starring a dude with a chiseled jaw, and that's exactly what Wolf Warrior 2 is. Also, Frank Grillo is the antagonist – y'know, Crossbones from those big ol' Marvel movies! This is the pick if you're looking to scratch a big-budget shoot-em-up itch and you want to see what that looks like when it comes from the other side of the world. You can find it (and the first Zhan Lang) under its English title, Wolf Warrior 2, on Amazon Prime and Hulu (sequel only).

Ne Zha Zhi Mo Tong Jiang Shi

Ne Zha Zhi Mo Ton Jiang Shi, literally translated as "Birth of the Demon Child," is a Chinese children's animated film released in 2019. It did receive a wide North American release under the title Ne Zha but, given the fact that was in August of 2019, which is past the usual domestic blockbuster season, it may have slipped past your notice. It also had to compete with Angry Birds 2 and Dora the Explorer, much higher-profile and more immediately accessible kids' films at that time. Ne Zha is a demon child born to human parents due to a cosmic accident and is cursed to die, but fate will take him on a journey to defy the destiny assigned to him and grow beyond what the gods expect.

Ne Zha is soaked in Chinese mythology, but operates on the universal themes of self-actualization and learned morality, and features dragons. Who doesn't love dragons? It's number 2 on the revenue list with an astounding $700 million all-time take – the kind of money that, in America, you generally only see out of Pixar movies when it comes to the animation box office. Rotten Tomatoes reports an 88% rating on the film, largely praising the film's comedic stylings and lush CGI visuals. You can find Ne Zha on Amazon Prime.

Liu Lang Di Qiu

Liu Lang Di Qiu, translated to The Wandering Earth, is a 2019 film adaptation of a Chinese sci-fi novel published under the same title by Liu Cixin in 2000. Towards the end of the 21st century, the sun appears to be on the unexpected cusp of shifting to red giant status, which will cause it to envelop and destroy Earth. To escape, the nations of the world unite under one banner and construct mammoth engines in the Earth's crust to drive the planet out of orbit and towards the outer edges of the galaxy and into deep space. The story follows a family's personal and existential struggles as Earth passes Jupiter, and as the centuries-long plan only just getting off the ground starts to backfire on humanity.

Sci-fi is still a relatively nascent genre in Chinese cinema, but this film hitting the big time by pulling in nearly $700 million is a good start to kicking off a possible trend overseas. In another show of the changing cinematic business, Netflix acquired the global distribution rights to Liu Lang Di Qiu, so its domestic release is on your streaming service right now, waiting to be put on your To Watch list.

The Intouchables

We turn to France for our next entry with The Intouchables (released as Untouchable in the U.K.). We know what you're thinking, but this isn't a weird art film. Instead, it's a buddy dramedy, and opens with a car chase in a Maserati! We can all get behind that, right? 

Released in its home country in 2011, this is the highest-grossing domestic film of all time in France. It did relatively well in the U.S., too, as the highest-grossing foreign-language film of that year (2012), and went on to bring in a lifetime take of $445 million worldwide.

The film is based on two real-life people that the directors of the film discovered in a French documentary entitled A la vie, a la mort. Philippe is a wealthy quadriplegic searching for a new day-to-day caretaker, and the initially-disinterested Driss halfheartedly applies for the job. After he's hired, however, the two men engender a deep friendship and each learns personal and emotional lessons from the other. If that sounds a little familiar, the answer is yes – it's kind of like a French version of Driving Miss Daisy, just with more funk music hits and opera. Contemporary UK reviews made similar comparisons to the American Oscar-winning film in both positive and negative terms. You can find The Intouchables on Amazon Prime.

Kimi no na wa

Kimi no na wa, released as Your Name in limited theaters in America, is the all-time highest-grossing anime film worldwide, with nearly $360 million total. Most Americans generally associate big-name Japanese animated releases with the legendary Studio Ghibli, but Your Name was produced by CoMix Wave Films, and is celebrated for its striking visuals and complex, time-bending narrative.

Where you might normally expect robots and unnaturally-colored hair, this 2016 drama-slash-romance is firmly grounded on Earth, but remains no less supernatural. Teenagers Taki and Mitsuha begin experiencing strange moments in which they intermittently swap bodies. The phenomenon of living within the other begins to affect each character, changing their reputations amongst their respective peers. When the connection is abruptly severed, however, and Taki's memories of Mitsuha's life begin to fade, he becomes determined to learn the truth of their connection to find where and when Mitsuha is. You can find Your Name on Amazon Prime, but this version is the English-language dub localized by Funimation Studios. If you would like to watch the original Japanese dub with English subtitles, that is only streamed on Funimation's online subscription service.


Our last entry is, believe it or not, a Disney movie – a Walt Disney Pictures India production, that is. Dangal broke a whole bunch of records when it was initially released in 2016. It's the highest-grossing film in its native country, and the highest-grossing sports film worldwide, with $340 million total. A big part of that is due to its being wildly successful in China. It was the first Indian film to be screened at the Beijing International Film Festival and, after receiving a standing ovation there, was put into wide release across China.

Dangal, roughly translated to "wrestling competition," is set in Balali, India. After being forced to give up a promising career in competitive wrestling in the traditional pehlwani style, Mahavir is determined to pass on the sport to a son. Fast-forward twenty-ish years, and Mahavir has only daughters. When two of them, Geeta and Babita, show sudden pugilistic promise after a schoolyard fight, Mahavir decides to train them, in hopes that they will someday get to the national championship he was denied. Like all great sports films, familial drama lies at the heart of the story, and the girls' journey through training, success, and what winning can mean for both yourself and loved ones is cited as the best parts of what makes this movie as good as it is. You can begin an exploration of Bollywood with Dangal on Netflix.