Only one R-rated movie has made more money than Oppenheimer

Cameron Frew
Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer and a still from Joker

Oppenheimer is one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time, blasting past everyone’s projections and becoming one of the great box office success stories – but it’s second to one film.

It’s not that people doubted Christopher Nolan; after all, he’s the visionary behind The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, and Dunkirk, which was once the biggest World War Two movie ever made… until Oppenheimer.

Yes, it’s a masterpiece, but it’s also a challenging work for mainstream audiences: it’s three hours long, features lengthy black-and-white segments, and revolves around the creation of mankind’s most dangerous weapon.

Yet, between the Barbenheimer phenomenon and the changing, pickier palette of moviegoers, it’s been a landmark hit – and of all the R-rated movies, its box office gross is second to one.

Oppenheimer is the second-highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time

Oppenheimer is the second-biggest R-rated movie of all time behind Joker.

Nolan’s movie is expected to cross the $800 million mark this weekend (September 2-3), upping its current gross of $788 million, and prognosticators have predicted a theatrical run as high as $950 million – there’s even a chance it could reach $1 billion, which would be one of the most extraordinary box office feats in history.

Joker, 2019’s DC origin story directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is a different animal: it made $1.074 billion, an unprecedented run for an R-rated picture at that time. Its nearest competition was both Deadpool movies, which have near-identical grosses around the $770 million mark.

Over the next few weeks, there isn’t a lot of competition: The Equalizer 3 has audiences banked, but it’s unlikely to break $200 million; My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 and The Nun II won’t make a huge splash; and then there’s A Haunting in Venice, which is probably the next biggest release behind The Expendables 4.

Oppenheimer is still in cinemas now, if you want to help it reach $1 billion. You can check out our list of the highest-grossing R-rated movies here, as well as the biggest films of all time here. You can also check out our other Oppenheimer coverage below:

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