According to Guinness World Records, the most expensive movie ever made is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), followed by Cleopatra (1963). But what about the priciest foreign language films ever? Well, most are war movies, and most are from France or China.
10. A Very Long Engagement (France, 2004) $56,600,000
This film is based on a novel about a woman’s (played by Audrey Tautou from Amélie) attempts to find her fiance who disappeared while serving in the trenches during World War I. She is told he was killed, but in her quest for the truth she discovers some disturbing truths.
9. Che (USA/France/Spain, 2008) $58,000,000
Soderburgh’s biopic recounts Che Guevara’s Cuban Revolution and his attempts to start a similar revolution in Bolivia. Although opinions about Guevera are divided, the film-makers clearly felt that this movie was worth huge investment, and it paid off in box office success.
7. The Monkey King (China/Hong Kong, 2014) $60,000,000
Starring alongside Chow-Yun Fat, Donnie Yen plays the eponymous Monkey King. The film is based on a 16th century Chinese classic featuring the character Sun Wukong, who also appears in earlier folk tales and the Monkey Magic TV series.
7. Mesrine (France, 2008) $60,000,000
Mesrine tells the story of notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine, and was released in two parts. Killer Instinct explores his early life, and Public Enemy Number One depicts his last seven years. The movie is known as the French version of Scarface.
6. Dragon Blade (China, 2015) $65,000,000
Starring Jackie Chan, Dragon Blade is another grandiose historical action film which became a worldwide hit. Chan plays a military commander who is charged with keeping peace among warring nations along the Silk Road, and forms an unlikely alliance with a Roman general (John Cusack).
5. The Monkey King 2 (Hong Kong, 2016) $68,400,000
This upcoming fantasy movie is set for a February 2016 release, to coincide with the start of the Chinese year of the monkey. It is expected to exceed the cost of its prequel Monkey King (seventh on this list), and features 3D effects from the Lord of the Rings team.
4. Astérix & Obélix: God Save Brittania (France, 2012) $77,600,000
The fourth in the Asterix series is partly based on the original book Astérix in Britain, in which Asterix marches forth to save Britain from the invading Romans. Gerard Depardieu appears again as Obelisk and is the only actor to appear in all four live action Asterix movies.
3. Red Cliff (China, 2008) $80,000,000
Director John Woo masterminded this historical war film, which was released in two two-hour parts in most of Asia, but trimmed down to a single film for other markets. The Battle of Red Cliff (208 AD) was the culmination of a lengthy conflict between rival warlords and is important in Chinese history.
2. The Flowers of War (China, 2011) $94,000,000
Christian Bale is the only non-Chinese main cast member in this film set during the Japanese invasion of Nanking in 1937. Bale plays a mortician who arrives to prepare a dead priest for burial, but ends up posing as the priest to protect a group of young girls.
1. Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques (France, 2008) $113,500,000
In this 2008 live action movie Astérix the Gaul and his sidekick Obelisk (played by Gerard Depardieu) compete in the Olympic Games against their arch enemy Brutus. This film performed well at the box office, but only gets five out of ten from IMDB users.