Nine Japanese-language titles among top 50 non-studio pics

Pics financed and sold outside the studio system such as “Twilight Saga: Eclipse” and “The Expendables” are potent drivers of the global box office, as detailed by the Independent Film & Television Alliance’s list of the top 50 independent films of 2010.

“Resident Evil: Afterlife,” “Red” and “The Book of Eli” rounded out the top five independent films worldwide for last year.

The bulk of titles in the top 50 list were English language, but as the top territory outside the U.S., Japan was well-represented with nine of the top 50 titles. Japanese hits included “The Borrower Arrietty,” with $114.1 million, “Umizaru 3: The Last Message” with $95.5 million and “Bayside Shakedown 3″ with $83.2 million.

Underscoring the rapid growth of the Brazilian box office due partially to local-language titles, Portuguese- lingo sequel “Elite Squad 2″ landed at No. 25 with $61.5 million.

France’s top worldwide grosser last year was “Little White Lies” with $47.3 million, while Italy’s comedy remake “Welcome to the South” was among the top titles with $41.5 million.

“Independents enjoyed an extraordinary year in 2010, both in terms of worldwide box office and critical acclaim for their work. Our list amply demonstrates the wide commercial appeal of independent films, just as the 35 nominations they received in major Oscar categories for this Sunday’s Academy Awards serve as a testimonial to their significant critical contributions,” said Independent Film & Television Alliance president-CEO Jean Prewitt.

Global trade association IFTA, which sponsors the American Film Market, compiled the list based on data from Rentrak.

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