Some interesting figures:
- In 2004, 18 foreign films did more than $1 million at the U.S. box office; in 2005, the number dropped to 10.
- Sony Pictures Classics, whose annual release list used to be about two-thirds foreign films, has cut its percentage of foreign offerings almost in half.
- While a record 91 countries submitted contenders for this years' foreign-language Oscar, only 7 have secured U.S. distribution -- the lowest number in years.
Subtitled movies have always been a tough sell in the U.S., but when Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did $128 million in U.S. box office and was nominated for major awards, some hoped that would change. But the economics appear to be pushing the other way.
Another ironic point noted in the article: As soon as a foreign-language filmmaker attracts attention, Hollywood comes calling and they start working in English (the most recent example being Fernando Meirelles).