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'And Then We Danced' Filmmaker Levan Akin on Russia's Protest of His Historic Gay Love Story

“When they offered me the role I was a little bit intimidated because of this fear from society,” star Levan Gelbakhiani said.

Opening this weekend is “The Upside,” an American remake of “The Intouchables,” a film that made so much money in France that it became a cultural event. After earning $166 million in France, the country’s second-highest-grossing film ever, and over $426 million worldwide, an American remake of the film was inevitable. But surprisingly, box office hits abroad don’t always translate when remade with American actors, and the ones that do rarely resemble their original inspiration. Here are the highest-grossing American remakes of foreign films (all domestic box office figures via Box Office Mojo).

STX Entertainment

  • 15. The Tourist (2010) – $67.6 Million

    France, “Anthony Zimmer” (2005)

    The romance didn’t translate overseas because while audiences were hoping for “The Tourist” to be a steamy thriller from Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp — something the original managed with Sophie Marceau and Yvan Attal — critics dismissed it. But that wasn’t the case with audiences and the Golden Globes, who nominated it for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical. 

    Columbia Pictures

  • 14. Nine Months (1995) – $69.6 Million

    France, “Neuf mois” (1994)

    This much-loved Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore rom-com about pregnancy started as a French romantic comedy called “Neuf mois,” but it was the remake that took off in America and abroad, grossing $138 million worldwide. 

     

    Twentieth Century Fox

  • 13. “Dinner for Schmucks” (2010) – $73.0 Million

    France, “Le Diner de Cons” (1998)

    The snappy French comedy “Le Diner de Cons,” or “The Dinner Game,” made over $4 million at the domestic box office after releasing in France back in 1998, spawning this less-critically successful remake from Jay Roach starring Paul Rudd and Steve Carell.

    Paramount

  • 12. “Eight Below” (2006) – $81.6 Million

    Japan, “Antarctica” (1983)

    Both “Antarctica” and “Eight Below” were big box office hits. How could a survival story about eight huskies not be? But while “Eight Below” is a Disney-fied and whitewashed version of the story, the Japanese film hews closer to a real-life ill-fated rescue mission from the ’50s. “Antarctica” also held the box office record in Japan until the release of “Princess Mononoke” in 1997.  

    Walt Disney Pictures

  • 11. “Vanilla Sky” (2001) – $100.6 Million

    Spain, “Abre Los Ojos” (1997)

    Cameron Crowe directed Tom Cruise in the American remake of Alejandro Amenabar’s “Abre Los Ojos,” about a handsome and vain man who suffers an accident that disfigures his face. Crowe’s version follows Amenabar’s closely but makes a significant change to the ending that polarized some critics and audiences. 

     

    Paramount Pictures

  • 10. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2011) – $102.5 Million

    Sweden, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2009)

    While technically an American version of Stieg Larsson’s book, the success of David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” owes a lot to the overseas success of the Swedish adaptation of the book. The Swedish version grossed over $10 million in America and over $100 million worldwide. And the film’s star, Noomi Rapace, set the stage for screen versions of Lisbeth Salander, further using it as a launching pad for her own English-language acting career. 

    Columbia Pictures Corporation

  • 9. “The Italian Job” (2003) – $106.1 Million

    Britain, “The Italian Job” (1969)

    Mark Wahlberg might not be Michael Caine, but F. Gary Gray’s retro caper of the classic British heist movie was a box office hit and helped put Mini Coopers back on the map stateside. 

    Paramount Pictures

  • 8. The Grudge (2004) – $110.3 Million

    Japan, “Ju-On: The Grudge” (2002)

    “The Grudge,” like “The Ring,” was part of a wave of Japanese horror remakes from the early 2000s and also spawned several other American horror sequels.  

     

    Columbia Pictures Corporation

  • 7. “The Birdcage” (1996) – $124.0 Million

    France, “La Cage aux Folles” (1978)

    Mike Nichols’ “The Birdcage” isn’t just a remake of a foreign film, it’s also an adaptation of a long-running French play. Both film and play are titled “La Cage aux Folles,” and the French film adaptation was nominated for three Oscars following its release in 1978.

    MGM

  • 6. “The Ring” (2002) – $129.1 Million

    Japan, “Ringu” (1998) 

    The American version of “The Ring” remains the highest-grossing horror remake of all time, and it was so wildly successful that it spawned a whirl of other American remakes of Japanese horror films, including “The Grudge,” “Pulse,” “The Eye,” “Shutters,” “Mirror” and more, all within a few years of each other. 

    DreamWorks

  • 5. The Departed (2006) – $132 Million

    Hong Kong, “Infernal Affairs,” (2002)

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” is so intrinsically tied to Boston cops and gangsters that it’s hard to remember that the film’s twisty story of moles and double crossing originated in Hong Kong as “Infernal Affairs,” which itself spawned several sequels abroad. And while the film’s critical acclaim in Japan was impressive, it was Scorsese’s film that won the Oscar for Best Picture. 

     

    Warner Bros.

  • 4. “Godzilla” (1998) – $136.3 million

    Japan, “Godzilla” (1954)

    Roland Emmerich’s “Godzilla” starring Matthew Broderick wasn’t a hit with critics, but it did stomp all over the box office in 1998, becoming the 9th-highest-grossing film of the year. 

    Warner Bros.

  • 3. True Lies (1994) – $146.2 Million

    France, “La Totale!” (1991)

    The French “La Totale!” is firmly a comedy and performed modestly at the French box office, but James Cameron made it his own when he cast Arnold Schwarzenegger in his tongue-in-cheek action blockbuster. 

    Twentieth Century Fox

  • 2. “3 Men and a Baby” (1987) – $167.7 Million

    France, “3 Hommes et un couffin” (1985)

    Made on a mid-size budget and starring the most ’80s cast of Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson as three bachelors watching over a baby, “3 Men and a Baby” was a surprise comedy hit as the top grossing movie of 1987. But its French predecessor was likewise a success, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film in 1986. 

    Buena Vista Pictures

  • 1. “Godzilla” (2014) – $200.6 Million

    Japan, “Godzilla” (1954)

    “Godzilla” has had so many remakes and sequels over the years, but Gareth Edwards’ film gets closer to the melancholy of Ishiro Honda’s original monster movie than ever before. 

    Legendary/Warner Bros.

  • “The Upside,” opening this week, is a remake of the French box office smash “The Intouchables”

    Opening this weekend is “The Upside,” an American remake of “The Intouchables,” a film that made so much money in France that it became a cultural event. After earning $166 million in France, the country’s second-highest-grossing film ever, and over $426 million worldwide, an American remake of the film was inevitable. But surprisingly, box office hits abroad don’t always translate when remade with American actors, and the ones that do rarely resemble their original inspiration. Here are the highest-grossing American remakes of foreign films (all domestic box office figures via Box Office Mojo).

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