With everything we have available at the local box office, it’s tempting to think that every movie worth seeing will make it onto those local screens…eventually. But when the Oscars roll around each year, that pesky Foreign Film category compels us to remember there’s a lot of really good filmmaking that never crosses our shores, let alone finds it’s way into small town venues. And it’s not just Oscar-worthy fare, either. In fact, there’s plenty available that’s just plain entertainment – just not for us.
So, what does the rest of the world watch that isn’t showing in the US? Here’s the “other” top grossing films from this past weekend:
Some seem very familiar, and others, entirely obscure. Let’s take a peek and see what these films are all about.
The Monkey King: Woah, trippy! It should be no surprise to see a Chinese film at the top of the list. They have a billion people there, after all. Judging by this trailer, the film could do well in the US, too. We’ll see in September, when it opens stateside.
Robocop: Whaaa? That’s right, RoboCop released in 47 territories before we got our first crack at it this weekend. That’s ok, it’s here now…
You can check out a full review, with clips, interviews, and behind the scenes footage by clicking over to this article here.
The Man From Macau: I know what you’re thinking: You haven’t seen Chow Yun-Fat in a while… Yes you did! He’s in The Monkey King trailer too! Directed by Jing Wong, who also directed Jet Li’s Legend of the Red Dragon, and about 6 million other films, The Man From Macau is the fourth entry in the God of Gamblers series. As a comedy, and a caper flick, and with it’s Las Vegas setting, this one deserves a US release.
Dad, Where Are We Going? It’s funny what appeals to people sometimes. Here’s a foreign cross between Entourage and Jon & Kate Plus 8. Celebrites drag their kids around, and we spy on them. For what ever reason, it’s so incredibly popular, they’ve remade the Korean TV show into a Chinese TV show, and now a movie too. In the film, these celebrity dads and their kids visit a wildlife park and are faced with various competitive challenges. Not being used to manual labor, and the inevitable realities associated with wild animals, comedy ensues…
(Maybe it’d be funnier if we knew what they were saying.) As for the Chinese, this sold more tickets than The Monkey King, but with 3D premiums, and 7 additional Asian markets, King grossed more overall.
Miss Granny: You might recognize those ‘squiggly’ characters in the title below as Korean text. Directed by Dong-hyuk Hwang, Miss Granny is huge departure from his last film, the very serious, child abuse drama Silenced. Here, Miss Granny tells the story of an old woman who inexplicably transforms into her 20 year old self. Again, comedy ensues…
If you liked Big (it’s Tom Hanks, who didn’t like Big?), there’s a good chance you’d warm up to Miss Granny too, though you might not recognize her in the morning!
Viy: Ok, this looks like something Hollywood would spit out. Actually, it looks a lot like I, Frankenstein. It’s really a Russian production that took 7 years to complete due to funding problems and a decision mid-shoot to start over and film in 3D. Based the Nikolai Gogal horror story, it’s only been released in its homeland so far.
It may not be Night Watch, but it has potential.
Mr. Peabody And Sherman: Here we go again… Another Hollywood project shopped around internationally before we even get a taste.
Peabody opens March 7th, here in the US.
47 Ronin: Now here’s something interesting. 47 Ronin tanked domestically, yet it’s still going strong internationally, having now crossed $100 million. In fact, those tracking figures show Ronin has banked two and half times as much from the rest of the world as it has here at home. That’s quite the flip-flop from the usual 2:1 domestic to international ratio. Mabye it was worth watching after all?
Differing tastes or not, one thing’s for sure: there’s real talent and unusual creativity out there – and it’s worth checking out. Let’s hope more of these are allowed to make their way to our local venues. I mean, I’d like to see a flying monkey fight a dragon. Wouldn’t you?