Foreign language films movies viewing preferences in the U.S. 2020, by ethnicity

A survey exploring movies and viewing preferences in the United States revealed that 59 percent of U.S. adults said that they would prefer to watch foreign language films dubbed into English than see the original feature with subtitles. Preferences varied according to the ethnicity of survey respondents, and data showed that African Americans and white adults were more averse to watching subtitled foreign movies than adults in other ethnic groups.

By contrast, the majority of surveyed Hispanic adults said that they would rather watch a foreign film with subtitles than a dubbed version. Interestingly, the survey also revealed that Hispanics were more likely than white or African American adults to have learned another language, potentially making these respondents more receptive to foreign language films in their original format due to their affinity with or knowledge of other languages in general.

The rise of foreign language films: accolades

The 2020 Oscars ceremony saw Korean movie 'Parasite' win four awards, including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and made history as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. The film also won Best International Feature Film, outperforming Pedro Almodóvar's drama 'Pain and Glory' and North Macedonian documentary film 'Honeyland' which were both nominated for the award after having been released to widespread critical acclaim.

Another well-known and successful recent foreign language release was Alfonso Cuarón's 'Roma', which won three Oscars among other prestigious awards. Concerns about the diversity of awards ceremonies, most notably the Oscars, have given way to several campaigns calling for greater representation, and despite movies like 'Honeyland' not quite making the cut, the movie's nomination was seen as an achievement regardless.

Preference between watching foreign language movies dubbed into English or with subtitles in the United States as of January 2020, by ethnicity

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Release date

February 2020


United States

Survey time period

January 23 to 24, 2020

Number of respondents

2,200 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Question: Which of the following statements is closest to your opinion, even if neither is exactly right?

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Statistics on "Academy Awards"

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