Somewhat remarkably, the top two movies in America have subtitles. Lots and lots of subtitles.

I’d estimate that Inglourious Basterds is less than 50 percent English, with the rest being a mix of German, French and hilariously inadequate Italian, almost all of it subtitled. District 9 uses subtitles for the Prawn, along with Afrikaans, native languages and some difficult-to-understand English.

Two movies is not a trend. But I’m noting these two success stories for the next time I’m told audiences won’t tolerate subtitles.

One other observation about District 9: It’s the first movie I can recall in which two groups could largely understand the each other’s language without being able to speak it. That is, Wikus speaks English to Christopher, who answers back in Prawn. The movie suggests that humans are physically incapable of speaking Prawn, and vice-versa. It’s an interesting choice, and helps keep the Prawn more alien.