When all is said and done, it's likely that the foreign film most remembered in 2011 (in the mainstream, at least) is Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist." While the film is indeed a French production, it's essentially dialogue-free. Silence may be in essence a foreign language, but it doesn't quite count here. Which leaves a number of French-speaking French films to dominate the list.
Gilles Paquet-Brenner's "Sarah's Key" -- starring Brit Kristin Scott-Thomas playing an American (but mostly speaking French) -- led the list, taking in a very impressive $7.7 million stateside. Released by "The Artist" distributor Weinstein Company, the film is one of the 30 highest grossing foreign language films ever in America, and the fifth highest grossing French film.
"Key" is joined in the top 10 by four other French films, Quebec's "Incendies" ($2.1 million) and three films from France - "Of Gods and Men" ($3.9 million), "Potiche" ($1.6 million) and "Certified Copy" ($1.3 million).
Other major successes included Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Spanish-language "Biutiful," which grossed over $5 million in 2011 after an Oscar qualifying run in late 2010 (which resulted in a best actor nod for Javier Bardem).
Check out the full list below, and note that these charts will lead up to more significant analysis of the year's winners and losers next week (including extensive takes on the foreign language films), so check back.