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April 2, 2024

Are Foreign Language Films on the Rise in the US?

Godzilla Minus One and The Boy and The Heron, the #1 and #2 foreign films in the US in 2023, both won Oscars at the recent 96th Academy Awards. By: Kritchanon Tan Kian Wei

US - Recent Oscar wins by foreign films like Godzilla Minus One, The Boy and The Heron, Anatomy Of A Fall and The Zone Of Interest have shined a spotlight on foreign films in the US, leading to discussion on whether foreign-language films have been making a comeback in the region.

The discussions come after many have pointed out that foreign films have recently been making (and profiting from) high-quality films with a fraction of the budget of Hollywood blockbusters.

The Japanese film Godzilla Minus One for example, has recently been compared to the just-released Hollywood blockbuster Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire. Minus One, which won the Best Visual Effects Award at the Oscars with a US$15 million budget, has been a hit with critics and Godzilla fans, whereas Godzilla X Kong, with its US$135 million budget, has received comparatively worse reviews. Though the latter will likely outgross the former, Godzilla X Kong will need roughly US$337.5 million to break even, whereas Minus One has already grossed over $56 million in the US (not counting Japan, where Godzilla is incredibly popular in), past its break even point of only around US$37.5 million.

The Boy and The Heron has also recently won the Best Animated Feature award at the Oscars, beating out Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, which many thought would win, given that its predecessor won the award in 2019.

While foreign films remain difficult to distribute in the US due to the scarcity of pay-1 partners, distributors like GKids have still found success in the US with films like The Boy and the Heron. As audiences and industry experts notice the impact foreign films have been making in the US however, this may change in the future.

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