We already have a pretty good idea as to which movies will top the 2015 box office -- Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: Episode 7 instantly come to mind -- but 2014 was dominated by comic book movies and Ms. Katniss Everdeen. Guardians of the Galaxy topped the yearly domestic box office, followed closely by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, and titles like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past also earned big bucks. But what about the movies that were massive hits abroad, but never found their way to our cinemas? It turns out that’s a pretty bizarre list of titles.
Movies.com crawled through the box office results of multiple foreign countries to deduce (1) the top 10 highest grossing films of each country and (2) which of these were never released in the U.S. As it turns out, there are 30 titles that matched both sets of criteria, and some of them even beat the likes of Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy in their home territories. To give you an idea of what types of films made the cut and beat out some of your favorites, here are the 10 weirdest foreign films to make bank in other countries in 2014.
Doktor Proktor's Fart PowderGross in Norway: $5,164,177
This might be the strangest movie of all time, let alone the strangest to earn a place amongst a country’s top 10 highest-grossing movies. Believe it or not, Doktor Proktor’s Fart Powder was adapted from a book that sees two children helping an eccentric scientist with his latest invention: a special powder that makes you fart so powerfully that you can propel your body into flight. The trailer and subsequent viral video promotions are hysterical to watch, and the movie itself was the second highest-grossing film in Norway.
VaterfreudenGross in Austria: $2,786,893
Vaterfreuden sounds like something that might actually get some decent traction in the U.S. when you consider how many similar films we’ve seen involving douche-y bros suffering some sort of sexual inadequacy and learning the true meaning of manhood. In this film, which was the seventh highest-earning film to hit Austrian theaters, a bachelor realizes he can no longer reproduce after a ferret bites his...Johnson. But he’s in luck, because he had previously donated sperm, which was given to a woman looking to have a baby. To ensure the continuation of his family line, he proceeds to track her down.
Thermae Romae IIGross in Japan: $42,201,497
While you’ve probably never heard of it either, the first Thermae Romae took place in ancient Rome with a cast made up entirely of Japanese actors. The story centered on an architect, Lucius, who was charged with building a new bathhouse. Little did he know, though, the waters of his creation sent him on a time-traveling journey to the future. Thermae Romae II is, obviously, the sequel. So, basically, it’s like the Japanese version of Hot Tub Time Machine, and Lord knows we’re already getting another one of those. Thermae Romae II, if you can believe it, was Japan’s fifth highest-grossing film of 2014.
The Monkey KingGross in China: $167,840,000
Believe me when I tell you that the legend of The Monkey King was actually adapted into an anime cartoon series called Monkey Magic that aired in the US around the same time as Wishbone. Well, this version of the legend, is a live-action movie starring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Chow Yun-Fat, Donnie Yen and Aaron Kwok. A monkey is born from a heavenly rock with supernatural powers, and wars with the gods. After being imprisoned within rock for 500 years, he is released and accompanies a monk on his journey to India. According to myth, this is how Buddhism was brought to China.
Klassefesten 2 - BegravelsenGross in Denmark: $9,156,541
Klassefesten 2 - Begravelsen, translated as The Reunion 2: The Funeral, has been dubbed by critics as the Hangover of Denmark. It sees three buddies heading to a funeral after a sudden death puts a downer on "the bachelor party of the century." So, yeah, it’s totally like The Hangover. The film was the second highest-grossing film in Denmark, and it beat out big titles like The Wolf of Wall Street, 22 Jump Street and even The LEGO Movie!
SupercondriaqueGross in France: $45,232,099
Romain Faubert is coming up on his 40s with a career as a professional photographer, but he’s also a raging hypochondriac. This probably explains why he only has one friend: Dr. Dimitri Zvenka. And like any good friend, Zvenka wants Faubert to get out of this psychotic rut, and he thinks dating is the best way to do that. The trailer actually looks kind of funny, even though we can’t understand a word of what’s being said. Supercondriaque came in second place at France’s yearly box office, besting the likes of Lucy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?Gross in France: $104,659,347
One privileged French couple has four daughters and each of them are getting married. To the mother and father’s distaste, however, each are wedding a man of a different race and religion. As is the custom, shenanigans ensue. Out of all these films, Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu? was the one that appeared the most number of times across multiple countries’ Top 10s. It came in first in France, and second in Austria and Germany.
Doraemon Shin Nobita No DaimakyoGross in Japan: $33,989,696
The story about a boy befriending and caring for a stray dog is nothing new. What makes this Japanese animated movie so buckwild is that the dog in this case comes from an alternate world where he is the king of his species. These dogs have evolved to form their own human-like characteristics and empire, called the Bow-Wow Dog Kingdom. Doraemon is, apparently, a recurring character in this kid franchise, and he’s that giant creature trodding alongside the kids looking like something from Hayao Miyazaki’s imagination. This was the eighth highest-grossing movie in Japan for 2014.
Algjör Sveppi og Gói bjargar málunumGross in Iceland: $257,925
What would you do if a greedy company was trying to build developments on the volcanic land where you like to party and get trashed? You’d fight the power to keep it the way it is, right? (Though, why would anyone want to party near a volcano?) Based on the trailer, it looks like the company in question has a Dr. Evil-style lair going on directly in the volcano. Oh boy! How will the gang get out of this one? Apparently Icelandic audiences wanted to know, as it was the country’s seventh highest-grossing film of 2014, one step above where Captain America: The Winter Soldier landed.
Captain Sabertooth and the Lama Rama TreasureGross in Norway: $4,772,619
Captain Sabertooth looks like the Norwegian version of Pirates of the Caribbean or Peter Pan. It’s got the main villainous pirate figure, a strappy lad looking for adventure, driving orchestral music, and one location with a name that’s really fun to say: Lama Rama. The main gist of this film is that a young orphan boy named Pinky joins a pirate named Captain Sabertooth on his journey to find the treasure of the kingdom of Lama Rama. Along the way, Pinky hopes to discover the identity of his father. It was Norway’s third highest-grossing movie of 2014, coming just under the amount earned by that fart powder movie.