Top 10 highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time

Cameron Frew
Posters for The Passion of the Christ, Oppenheimer, and Joker, three of the highest-grossing r-rated movies of all time

After Oppenheimer became an unlikely box office phenomenon, here’s our guide to the top 10 highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time.

It’s tough to make a box office fortune when you are carrying an R rating. Family films tend to dominate the charts, with the Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Avatar movies making billions in theaters.

R-rated movies tend to be more violent, move profane, and more sexually explicit, meaning anyone under 17 needs to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, severely restricting their box office receipts.

But some movies don’t need the lower rating to break through, with this list consisting of the 10 highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time.

Highest-grossing R-rated movies

Below, we’ve listed each of the highest-grossing R-rated movies worldwide and their box office hauls.

These totals are unadjusted for inflation, meaning there may be some movies missing you’d have expected to see: for example, The Exorcist’s adjusted haul would be $1.01 billion instead of $441 million, which currently has it sitting at 30 in the overall leaderboard.

10. The Hangover Part II – $586 million

The cast of The Hangover Part 2

In 2009, The Hangover became one of the biggest comedies of all time with a near-$470 million gross off of a $35 million budget – so, it wasn’t exactly a surprise when Part II blew its first haul out of the water.

The sequel – which is basically a copy-and-paste of the first film’s plot, only switching up the locale to Bangkok and the missing sod to a soon-to-be-brother-in-law – wasn’t a critical hit, but reviews didn’t stop audiences flocking to cinemas. Also, it’s actually quite funny.

9. The Passion of the Christ – $612 million

Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ, one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time

Mel Gibson’s blood-gushing religious epic isn’t just one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time – in the US, it’s the biggest R-rated film in US history.

Usually, movies make more overseas than in the US, but the Passion’s domestic haul amounted to $370 million compared to an international gross of $241 million.

8. Logan – $619 million

Hugh Jackman in Logan

Somehow, $619 million doesn’t seem like enough. When we watched the first trailer for Logan, scored to Johnny Cash’s hurt and featuring skull-impaling violence, we would have predicted a gazillion dollars.

One of the final movies of the Fox era before Disney’s takeover, James Mangold’s film gave fans what they always wanted: a somber, brutal, joyous farewell to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine… who’ll return in Deadpool 3. Oh well.

7. Detective Chinatown 3 – $686 million

The cast of Detective Chinatown 3

While it may not be known to the masses, Detective Chinatown 3 is one of China’s most successful movies. It’s the third installment in the popular series, following Tang and Qin Fen as they battle the best detectives in Asia.

It set several records, including the biggest opening weekend ever in a single territory, and it’s also the highest-grossing non-American R-rated movie of all time.

6. It Chapter One – $701 million

Pennywise in It Chapter One, the highest-grossing horror movie ever made

Considering the YouTube clip infamy of Tim Curry’s Pennywise, we shouldn’t have been surprised by It’s success: the first chapter is the highest-grossing horror movie of all time.

In the lead-up to its release, it became the top horror pre-seller for ticket sales in history, with its numbers eclipsing those of The Conjuring 2, Get Out, and other hit horrors.

5. The Matrix Reloaded – $741 million

Neo in The Matrix Reloaded, one of the highest-grossing movies of all time

This may be the most impressive entry on the list: The Matrix Reloaded grossed $741 million worldwide. If you were to adjust that for inflation, that’s well over $1 billion.

After all, it was the sequel to one of the greatest, most seminal sci-fi films ever made, and it came armed with eye-popping action scenes, groundbreaking CGI, and a belter of a cliffhanger.

4. Deadpool – $782 million

A still from Deadpool, one of the highest-grossing movies of all time

The hype for Deadpool was long and widespread. The leaked 2014 test footage basically led to the movie being green-lit, with fans overjoyed to see a faithful, hilarious on-screen incarnation of the Merc with a Mouth.

The resulting movie was a critical and commercial hit, earning a spot on the podium. What movie could ever beat it?

3. Deadpool 2 – $785 million

The cast of Deadpool 2

Yep, that’s right: Deadpool 2 takes second place on the box office ranking after raking in an extra $3 million.

The highly-anticipated sequel followed the chimichanga-loving antihero as he formed the fateful X-Force and faced off against Cable, a time-traveling mercenary whose gadget will lead into the MCU’s threequel.

2. Oppenheimer – $953.8 million

Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy in Oppeneimer.

There were a few factors counting against Oppenheimer beyond the R-rating. Clocking in at over three hours limited the amount of screenings per day. Multiple black-and-white sequences don’t usually translate into box office gold. While the subject matter – concerning the creation of a weapon of mass genocide – is hardly the stuff of summer blockbusters.

But spurred on by the Oppenheimer craze, Christopher Nolan’s film has been little short of a phenomenon – with a likely Best Picture win on the horizon, it could even break through the billion barrier.

1. Joker – $1.074 billion

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker, the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time

Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there? Joker hit pop culture like a cackling, brutal hurricane; he’s the most iconic villain of all time, and his solo big-screen debut lived up to his reputation.

Dissenting reviews followed the initial rave reactions, but Joker danced into box office history with a billion-plus haul, making Todd Phillips the director of not one, but two of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time.

You can find out everything we know about Joker 2 here, and our breakdown of the top 10 biggest movies of all time.

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