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The blockbuster movies of 2016 that you've probably never heard of

Freshly popped popcorn
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"Captain America: Civil War", "Finding Dory" and "Zootopia". All three grossed more than a billion dollars each in the global box office this year, yet despite their international success, they weren't always the number one favorite in some nations.

While Hollywood blockbusters usually take the crown for highest grossing movies every year, locally produced films often have a way of winning over the natives, and this year was no exception.

From the highest grossing movies in China and South Korea, to the hotly-awaited releases in the U.K., the U.S. and India; CNBC takes a look at some of the top performing movies in international markets during 2016.

All box office figures provided by Box Office Mojo, unless stated otherwise.


China: 'The Mermaid' (Mei ren yu)

Actress Lin Yun (M), director Stephen Chow (L), actor Show Lo promote Chow's new film 'The Mermaid' on January 11, 2016
VCG / Contributor | Visual China Group | Getty Images

After real estate tycoon, Liu Xuan, buys a coastal enclave with the intention of turning it into a property metropolis, mermaid Shan is sent to seduce and assassinate him. Yet despite the fact that Liu is putting her race's ecosystem at risk by the real estate project, she starts to fall for him.

The film was a massive success in China, having become the highest-grossing movie ever in China, according to Variety, whilst being ranked in the top 15 of the world's best grossing movies of 2016. It has received positive reviews from critics, achieving 93 percent on review website Rotten Tomatoes.

>> China gross: $526.8 million+
>> Total gross: $553.8 million+

India: 'Sultan'

Film footage from 'Sultan' (2016)
Courtesy of Yash Raj Films

"Sultan" is a story about two local wrestling greats: Sultan Ali Khan and Aarfa who both have their own aspirations. But when they meet and lock horns, not only do their dreams intertwine, but a romance is sparked too.

The movie — which looks at Sultan's comeback into wrestling — became a smash hit in its home market of India, coming in the top 80 grossing films worldwide in 2016, and has received an 80 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

>> India gross: $62.8 million+
>> Total gross: $87.2 million+


France: 'The Tuche: The American Dream' (Les Tuche 2: Le Rêve Américain)

Film footage from 'The Tuche: The American Dream' (2016), also known as 'Les Tuche 2: Le reve americain'
©2016_ESKWAD_PATHE_Photo_Vero_Boncompagni

After winning 100 million euros in the lottery during the first movie's installment, five years later in "Les Tuche 2", the Tuche family is back, and they're setting their sights on the U.S., to surprise their son, Donald, who is studying over there — but will all go to plan? The movie was a top performer in its domestic market of France, and according to AlloCiné, the movie has garnered more than 4,598,000 visitor entries in France.

>> France gross: $32.5 million+ (includes box office for Monaco, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria)
>> Total gross: $35.2 million+


UK: 'Bridget Jones's Baby'

Film footage from ''Bridget Jones' Baby' (2016)
Courtesy of Universal Pictures International

Bridget Jones is back and this time she's got a baby on the way! In the third installment of the Bridget Jones Diary franchise, Bridget becomes pregnant but is unsure who the father is: Old flame Mark Darcy, or Jack Qwant, a handsome new suitor. The latest addition gathered many positive reviews both in the U.K. and internationally, receiving 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

>> U.K. gross: $60.9 million+
>> Total gross: $211.8 million+


South Korea: 'Train to Busan' (Busanhaeng)

Film footage from 'Train to Busan' (2016), also known as 'Busanhaeng'
Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL Limited and Optimum Releasing

A group of passengers are trapped on a high-speed train, fighting to survive after a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea and inevitably seeps into the train's carriages. The movie follows the journey of passengers, as they attempt to escape the zombie apocalypse.

"Train to Busan" was a smash hit in the Korean market, garnering over $80 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and achieved a 95 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

>> South Korea gross: $80.4 million+
>> Total gross: $88 million+

Norway: 'Kongens Nei' (The King’s Choice)

Film footage from 'The King's Choice' (2016), also known as 'Kongens Nei'
Credit: Agnete Brun / Paradox.

It's April 9, 1940, and German troops are invading the Norwegian capital of Oslo. King Haakon VII has a big decision to make that will change the fate of the country forever. The historical drama has been a hit in Norway during 2016, having received over 700,000 cinema visits, according to Film & Kino, making it the year's most watched movie in Norway.

>> Norway gross: $8.8 million+


Italy: 'Quo Vado?' (Where am I going?)

Film footage from 'Quo Vado?' (2016), also known as 'Where am I Going?'
Courtesy of Taodue

"Quo Vado?" is the tale about Checco, a man from a small Italian town who — after refusing to accept redundancy — is trying everything to keep his job as a government employee. While the film has been released in international markets, "Quo Vado?" thrived in its home market of Italy, scoring a record-breaking 22.2 million euros ($23.1 million) during its opening weekend in Italy, Variety reported.

>> Italy gross: $72.6 million+
>> Total gross: $ 73.7 million+


New Zealand: 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople'

Film footage from 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' (2016)
Courtesy of Piki Films, Vertigo Films and The Orchard

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" delves deep into the relationship and adventure Ricky Baker has with his foster uncle Hec, after the two are found on the run in the wild New Zealand bush, trying to escape from the law and child services.

The movie received rave reviews, achieving a 98 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie also made it into the record books for New Zealand, becoming the largest grossing local movie at the country's box office, according to the New Zealand Film Commission.

>> New Zealand gross: $12.1 million+ New Zealand dollars (Motion Picture Distributors' Association of New Zealand Incorporated)
>> Total gross: $23.3 million+ (Box Office Mojo)


Japan: 'Your Name' (Kimi no na wa.)

Film footage from 'Your Name' (2016), also known as 'Kimi no na wa'
Courtesy of Toho

"Your Name" (Kimi no na wa) is a classic tale of two people switching places. Complete strangers Mitsuha and Taki live separate lives, until Mitsuha starts dreaming of herself as that of a young city-based man, while Taki sees himself through the eyes of a woman based in the countryside.

After being rolled out in Japan in the summer, the body-swap tale "Your Name" has since come to other international cinema screens including the U.K. and Thailand; and has achieved a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

>> Japan gross: $177.8 million+
>> Total gross: $258 million+



US: 'Boo! A Madea Halloween'

Film footage from 'Boo! A Madea Halloween' (2016)
Courtesy of Lionsgate

In her latest adventure, Madea ends up spending her Halloween fending off poltergeists, zombies, killers, and other ghoulish characters, all whilst trying to maintain a close eye on a cluster of mischievous teenagers.

While it only received 21 percent on Rotten Tomatoes in terms of critics' reviews, the movie still performed well domestically, and around 98 percent of the movie's total revenue came from the U.S., according to Box Office Mojo.

>> U.S. gross: $73 million+
>> Total gross: $74.7 million+