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Subtitle Translations and the Top Six Highest Grossing Movies of All Time

Subtitle Translations

Why Dubbing and Subtitle Translation is Important

Translating subtitles is imperative to opening up videos to global audiences. We’ve all spotted DVD options that ask which language we would like to watch our movie in. Similarly, we’ve all heard about how subtitle translation is great for SEO. But what about real figures? What do the numbers really tell us about the true value of translating video content for international distribution? In short, this blog takes a look at subtitle translations and the top five highest grossing movies of all time.

Figures are cited as of July 2018 and collated from information from multiple sites, but notably from Worldwide Grosses at

  1. Avatar
    Released in 2009, Avatar remains the highest grossing movie of all time. Domestic box office figures totalled around $760m, with international figures sitting at roughly $2.7b. In the case of Avatar, international audiences and subtitle translations boosted viewing figures by almost 300%.
    The next highest figures can be attributed to Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Russian subtitle translations and/or dubbing.
  2. Titanic
    Titanic sits quite significantly behind at number two, with domestic figures reaching around $659m and international stats showing roughly $1.5b.
    Some of the biggest bucks outside of the USA were generated through dubbing and/or translations for German, French, Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese subtitles.
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there was a total of just under $1b domestic profit as compared to roughly $1.1b overseas. USA profits ultimately made up close to half of the movie’s worldwide revenue.
    Foreign subtitles and dubbing helped towards international figures, notably translations in Chinese, German, French and Japanese.
  4. Avengers: Infinity Wars
    The recently released, Avengers: Infinity War, sits in third place, just behind Titanic in terms of viewing figures. Domestic box office stats put the American movie at roughly $669m whilst international box office return hit around $1.3b.
    Astonishingly, in China, the revenue from Avengers: Infinity War came to almost half of that made domestically in the USA. Translations of subtitles into South Korean, German and French, as well as Spanish for Mexican audiences and Brazilian Portuguese, also gave a real boost to international viewing figures and revenue.
  5. Jurassic World
    Released in 2015, Jurassic World, made $652m in the USA and just over $1b in international sales, totalling around $1.6b.
    Again, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican Spanish and South Korean, French and German translations led to high success abroad.
  6. Furious 7
    The seventh movie in the Fast and Furious franchise (Furious 7) clinches the number four spot with $353m made at the domestic box office and $1.16b internationally. Interestingly, international views make up over three quarters of sales worldwide!
    The money generated for the film in China actually surpassed the amount made in the US by over $30m, accumulating over $390m! Russia, Mexico, Japan, Germany, France Brazil each respectively making well above $30m.

Subtitle Languages and Translations – Maximise Your Audience

On reflection, these numbers tell us that foreign subtitling services and video dubbing are crucial in making the most out of box office sales. Within the highest grossing movies (even up to the top 25), no movies made more money on a domestic scale than they did internationally.

Historically, sales China and Japan are highly significant for the overall gross profit for blockbuster movies. Interestingly, however, audiences and sales in Mexico and Brazil are starting to come to the fore.

When it comes to foreign subtitling services, it’s important to bear in mind the expense and time required to working with video to text services. In summary, we can take from the figures here, some of the most beneficial languages in which to translate subtitles. In this instance, these appear to be Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Mexican Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese translations.

Whether you want your film subtitled in French, Spanish, Russian or any other language, take a look at our foreign subtitling services page to get an idea of the process required. Similarly, if you’re looking for a professional subtitling company you can trust to subtitle your movies into foreign languages, contact Capital Captions. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are always happy to help.

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