avatar

American movies have always been popular internationally, but today they earn far more money abroad than at home — up to 70% of their overall take, and rising. Between 2007 and 2011, overseas ticket sales for US films grew 35%, while domestic grosses increased only 6%. So what does this mean? It demonstrates that American movies are pretty damn popular in far away lands. I can’t say I blame them. Say what you will about Americans, we do movies right (always have!).

Here are some figures. Keep in mind, they are not adjusted for inflation (or Gone with the Wind would have swept them all away).

Top Ten Movies based on International Gross. 

1) Avatar (2009)

Domestic – $760.5 million

Overseas – $2,021.8 million

2) Titanic (1997)

Domestic – $658.7 million

Overseas – $1,526.7 million

3) The Avengers (2012)

Domestic – $623.4 million

Overseas – $888.4 million

4) Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows part 2 (2011)

Domestic – $381 million

Overseas – $947.1 million

5) Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Domestic – $352.4 million

Overseas – $771.4 million

6) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

Domestic – $377.8 million

Overseas – $742.1 million

7) The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Domestic – $632.9 million

Overseas – $632.9 million

8) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Domestic – $423.3 million

Overseas – $642.9 million

9) Toy Story 3 (2010)

Domestic – $415.0 million

Overseas – $648.2 million

10) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Domestic – $241.1 million

Overseas – $802.8 million

Those figures speak volumes. They speak to the fact that, in 2009, the United States produced 520 feature films that were released theatrically. Our closest competitor, not that it was all that close, was India, which released a staggering 1,325 films. Freakin’ Bollywood. But how many movies from India end up over here on a regular basis? Not many. That tends to be the case every year, with Europe (France, the U.K. and Germany especially) releasing a fair amount of their own films. But across the planet, no one clamors for the movies of a particular country as much as they do for American ones.

It is also interesting to note that all of the above films are fantasy movies. And yes, I am including Titanic in that assessment. If you’ve seen it (and most of the world has), then you know that if that movie isn’t a fantasy take on some serious historical fiction, then I’m a Chinese jet pilot. I am also aware of where Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter were filmed, and who filmed them, but that doesn’t make them non-American films (the Star Wars movies were filmed in London). Their production companies are American, and so I say that we can take the credit for them.

So, to the moviegoing public of planet Earth: You’re Welcome. And hopefully, we’ll keep the hits coming!