It’s hard to say why fans overseas can’t get enough of movies Americans want nothing to do with — but it happens more than you might realize. And often, that overseas success can save a struggling movie.
Click through to find out which films bombed in the U.S., but did well internationally.
International Box Office: $119.8 million
U.S. Box Office: $58 million
Dwayne Johnson could teach you a thing or two about box office successes and flops. But despite pairing up with Zac Efron this time, the remake of the popular ’90s television series didn’t earn enough at U.S. box offices to cover the film’s $69 million production budget.
Much of the credit for its overseas success might be owed to original “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff’s popularity in Germany, as the movie reached peak international popularity in the country — quite possibly because he was in it.
‘Blade Runner 2049’
International Box Office: $167.2 million
U.S. Box Office: $91.8 million
American moviegoers were filled with anticipation for “Blade Runner 2049,” the sequel to the 1982 cult classic “Blade Runner.”
Despite the buzz, the 2017 film starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford had such poor box office results in the U.S. that the film wouldn’t have surpassed its $150 million production budget without the bump from overseas.
‘The Great Wall’
International Box Office: $289.4 million
U.S. Box Office: $45.5 million
Matt Damon is lucky his fans remember the success of “Good Will Hunting” because many Americans have probably never heard of his 2017 film with Willem Dafoe, “The Great Wall.” After all, the action film failed to earn even one-third of its $150 million production budget domestically.
Internationally, the largest film ever shot completely in China was a mega hit — especially in China, where it brought in $171 million.
International Box Office: $309.2 million
U.S. Box Office: $101.8 million
Starring Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam, Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 sci-fi thriller “Pacific Rim” seemed primed for a win. But the film’s U.S. box office results fell drastically short of its $190 million production budget.
Despite this, the movie was a smashing success internationally, where it raked in a whopping $112 million in China alone.
International Box Office: $364 million
U.S. Box Office: $133.4 million
At first glance, period drama “Troy” probably doesn’t seem like it should be on a list of failed box office movies in the U.S., but its $175 million production budget dwarfed its domestic revenues.
Luckily for Warner Bros., the 2004 film starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom was hugely successful overseas.
‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’
International Box Office: $184.7 million
U.S. Box Office: $41.2 million
The studio probably didn’t see this one earning horrendous U.S. box office results with the star-studded lineup that includes Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen and Rihanna. But big names couldn’t save “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”
Rooted in the action, adventure and fantasy genres, the 2017 film had an enormous production budget of $177.2 million, which it was able to cover only thanks to its success overseas.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’
International Box Office: $804.6 million
U.S. Box Office: $241.1 million
It probably doesn’t seem like “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” belongs on this list, but a closer look reveals the 2011 film had a $250 million production budget — which is higher than its U.S. box office results.
Part of a long-running film franchise starring Johnny Depp, its overwhelming international success likely green-lighted the 2017 installment and has kept Depp on the list of highest-grossing actors of all time.
‘The Golden Compass’
International Box Office: $302.1 million
U.S. Box Office: $70.1 million
Based on the book of the same name by Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass” had the makings of a winner, including a $180 million production budget and the A-list talents of Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. But U.S. audiences weren’t impressed by this 2007 film.
The rest of the world didn’t agree, as those international box office results speak for themselves.
International Box Office: $329 million
U.S. Box Office: $80.2 million
In theory, an action movie starring Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe sounds like a hit in the making. But “The Mummy” didn’t come close to matching its $125 million production budget with its U.S. profits.
Luckily for Universal Pictures, international audiences showed up in droves to see this 2017 film.
International Box Office: $107.5 million
U.S. Box Office: $34.4 million
Starring Jackie Chan and Katie Leung, the 2017 film “The Foreigner” fell just shy of meeting its $35 million production budget with its U.S. box office results.
Despite the lukewarm reception in the States, the action movie was very popular internationally, especially in China, where it earned an impressive $81.2 million.
International Box Office: $183.3 million
U.S. Box Office: $60.5 million
Initially, M. Night Shyamalan’s 2013 sci-fi film seemed primed for success with a $130 million production budget and the acting talents of father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith. But U.S. box office results were dismal.
Also co-written and produced by Smith, who knows how to carry a blockbuster hit, “After Earth” received a much warmer reception in theaters internationally.
‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’
International Box Office: $170.6 million
U.S. Box Office: $55.7 million
In 2013, Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton shared a new twist on the classic fairy tale — or at least they tried to. Unlike some failed box office movies, the fantasy horror film managed to eke out just a bit more than its $50 million production budget domestically. But it became a bona fide hit internationally.
‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’
International Box Office: $152.2 million
U.S. Box Office: $45 million
Despite the popularity of the beloved cartoon, U.S. audiences just weren’t into the 2017 film “Smurfs: The Lost Village.”
Domestically, the film fell notably short of its $60 million production budget, but international fans filled theaters to hear celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson and Joe Manganiello voice the characters in this animated movie.
‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’
International Box Office: $298.6 million
U.S. Box Office: $102.5 million
Given its $145 million production budget, Universal Pictures was clearly betting on “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” to be a smashing global success.
Starring Brendan Fraser, Jet Li and Maria Bello, the 2008 action film fell short of expectations in the U.S. but clearly redeemed itself with international audiences.
‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’
International Box Office: $301.2 million
U.S. Box Office: $44.9 million
In 2017, Paramount Pictures took a pricey bet on “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” investing $85 million in the thriller’s production budget.
Starring Vin Diesel, the sequel to the 2002 hit failed to produce desired box office results in the U.S. But international fans didn’t have the same reaction — especially in China, where it brought in $164.1 million.
‘A Good Day to Die Hard’
International Box Office: $237.3 million
U.S. Box Office: $67.3 million
Considering the cult following of the Bruce Willis-led series, it’s a little surprising the box office results for “A Good Day to Die Hard” came nowhere near the film’s $92 million production budget. Thankfully for 20th Century Fox, international audiences were much more keen to see the 2013 action film.
International Box Office: $179.2million
U.S. Box Office: $33.7 million
A sci-fi thriller starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess and Abbie Cornish, “Geostorm” completely tanked at theaters in the U.S., which you can see wasn’t a first for Butler.
Warner Bros. bet on this 2017 film to the tune of a $120 million production budget, so the studio is very lucky the box office results were vastly different outside the States.
International Box Office: $261.4 million
U.S. Box Office: $101.2 million
Domestic box office results for the 2014 drama “Noah” don’t look too shabby until to you take the film’s $125 million production budget into consideration.
While the star-studded cast, which included Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, failed to entice U.S. audiences into theaters, international moviegoers didn’t share this sentiment.
International Box Office: $142.1 million
U.S. Box Office: $80.2 million
Released in 2008, the sci-fi film “Jumper” wasn’t short on talent, as Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Bell were its top-billed stars.
But U.S. ticket sales failed to surpass the film’s $85 million production budget. Despite being among the failed box office movies in the States, it was a hit overseas.
International Box Office: $83.5 million
U.S. Box Office: $51.3 million
Even with the star power of Tom Cruise, “American Made” barely earned enough domestically to cover its $50 million production budget.
The 2017 biographical action film told the story of American pilot Barry Seal, but strangely it achieved much more success globally than with audiences at home in the U.S.
More on Movies