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The 50 Highest-Grossing R-Rated Movies of All Time

Newsweek logo Newsweek 5/13/2021 Frankie Adkins
Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis posing for the camera: Actress Heather Graham is carried by (L-R) actors Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha and Zach Galifianakis as they attend 'The Hangover' film premiere at Vue West End cinema on June 10, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images) Actress Heather Graham is carried by (L-R) actors Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha and Zach Galifianakis as they attend 'The Hangover' film premiere at Vue West End cinema on June 10, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Many of us remember the days of trying to sneak into the latest movie while underage.

For R-rated movies, Motion Picture Association (MPA) require younger movie-goers to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

The status quo in Hollywood is not to pour too much money into an R-rated movie. With a limited audience, budgets are usually capped for fear of reduced profits. But many movies would be less powerful without depicting adult material such as strong language, intense graphic violence, drug abuse and nudity.

Here's a look at the highest-grossing movies that soared at the box office despite their R rating. The rundown is based on worldwide takings data from Box Office Mojo. Take a look though.

50. Gone Girl (2014)

$369,330,3633

Based on Gillian Flynn's hit novel, this thriller starring Rosamund Pike became a box office sensation. Produced on a budget of $61 million, Gone Girl is director David Fincher's highest-grossing film to date.

David Clennon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, David Fincher, Emily Ratajkowski, Missi Pyle posing for a photo: Actors (L-R) David Clennon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, David Fincher, Emily Ratajkowski, and Missi Pyle attend the Opening Night Gala Presentation and World Premiere of "Gone Girl" during the 52nd New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on September 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) Actors (L-R) David Clennon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, David Fincher, Emily Ratajkowski, and Missi Pyle attend the Opening Night Gala Presentation and World Premiere of "Gone Girl" during the 52nd New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on September 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

49. There's Something About Mary (1998)

$369,884,651

With an all-star cast of Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, and Matt Dillon, this comedy became the fourth highest-grossing 1998 movie in the U.S. There's Something About Mary is rated R for strong comic sexual content and language.

48. Fifty Shades Freed (2018)

$371,987,838

The third instalment of the 50 Shades trilogy, the plot follows the marriage of main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Infamous for steamy sex scenes, the erotic romance was Rated R.

47. Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019)

$374,375,059

As Director Quentin Tarantino's latest cinema offering, the period drama is characteristically violent. There is also strong language throughout.

46. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

$376,109,824

Originally, a PG-13 version was made of this post-apocalyptic adventure movie which was only screened for test audiences in America. Following encouraging feedback, Warner Bros was convinced to release the R-rated film in theaters.

45. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

$378,410,542

Daniel Boyle, Rubina Ali are drinking from a wine glass: Director Danny Boyle (L) and actress Rubina Ali holding two of the Academy Award statues that "Slumdog Millionaire" won) at the 81st Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Director Danny Boyle (L) and actress Rubina Ali holding two of the Academy Award statues that "Slumdog Millionaire" won) at the 81st Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Director Danny Boyle's drama-romance film won a spate of awards, including eight Academy Awards, as well as several BAFTA awards and Golden Globe Awards.

It topped box offices worldwide, apart from in North America.

44. True Lies (1994)

$378,882,411

Directed by James Cameron, this film about a terrorist-battling secret agent ranked number one at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend, taking $25,869,770.

43. Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

$381,545,846

Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) attempts to win back Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) in the second part of this blockbuster trilogy.

42. 1917 (2019)

$384,965,466

This British war film, directed and produced by Sam Mendes, contains graphic battle scenes. Shootings, bombings, and wounded soldiers are depicted as well as characters smoking, drinking and using strong language.

41. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

$392,000,694

Based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name, this movie takes on the debaucherous world of New York's financial district. Martin Scorsese's fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio features nudity and drug use in excess.

40. Prometheus (2012)

$403,354,469

Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Ridley Scott, Logan Marshall-Green posing for a photo: Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Ridley Scott and Logan Marshall-Green attend the world premiere of Prometheus at Empire Leicester Square on May 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Ridley Scott and Logan Marshall-Green attend the world premiere of Prometheus at Empire Leicester Square on May 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

The fifth instalment in the Alien franchise, the estimated budget for director Riddley Scott's Sci-Fi horror was $130,000,000.

39. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017

$410,902,662

The second in the Kingsman film series, this spy comedy also stars Colin Firth.

The film has a weighted average score of 44 out of 100 on Metacritic, but grossed $410,902,662 despite its mixed reviews.

38. The Bodyguard (1992)

$411,006,740

Whitney Houston made her acting debut alongside Kevin Costner in this 1992 love story between two protagonists from vastly different worlds. The movie spent 10 weeks in the U.S. box-office's Top 10.

37. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

$414,351,546

The first instalment in the Kingsman film series is based on the comic book The Secret Service. It had slightly better takings at the box office than its sequel.

36. Sex and the City (2008)

$418,765,519

The popular New York City sitcom returns to follow the lives of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda in a feature-length film. Much like the TV series, Sex and the City is Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and strong language.

35. Django Unchained (2012)

$426,074,373

Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz posing for the camera: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz attend the "Django Unchained" photo call at Summer of Sony 4 Spring Edition held at The Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 15, 2012 in Cancun, Mexico. (Photo by Matt Dames/Sony via Getty Images) Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz attend the "Django Unchained" photo call at Summer of Sony 4 Spring Edition held at The Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 15, 2012 in Cancun, Mexico. (Photo by Matt Dames/Sony via Getty Images)

Quentin Tarantino's second fantasy film features a German bounty-hunter who colludes with a freed slave to rescue his wife from a plantation in Mississippi.

34. Bad Boys for Life (2020)

$426,505,244

The third instalment in the Bad Boys franchise stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who play Miami detectives hunting a drug lord duo.

33. The Intouchables (2011)

$426,588,510

At the time of its release, this heartwarming French comedy became the highest-grossing movie in a language other than English, amounting to $281,000,000 worldwide.

32. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

$427,344,325

The third chapter in the cult film franchise was released only six months after the second movie, The Matrix Reloaded. The film grossed over $139,000,000 in North America alone.

31. The King's Speech (2010)

$427,374,317

This British historical drama movie is based on the true story of Queen Elizabeth II's father and his friendship with his outlandish speech therapist Lionel Logue.


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30. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (2020)

$432,918,496

a person talking on a cell phone: Pedestrians walk past a poster promoting the anime movie Demon Slayer -- Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train -- at a cinema in Tokyo. (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images) Pedestrians walk past a poster promoting the anime movie Demon Slayer -- Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train -- at a cinema in Tokyo. (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

This Japanese animation broke records as the first non-Hollywood or non-American film to top the yearly box office worldwide in the history of cinema.

27. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

$433,371,112

The third part out of seven in the Terminator movie franchise, sees the return of the powerful cyborg from a post-apocalyptic future.

28. A Star is Born (2018)

$436,188,866

A remake of the 1954 classic, A Star is Born features singers-turned actors Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The movie grossed $220,900,000 internationally and was released in over 31 countries.

27. The Exorcist (1973)

$441,306,145

Dubbed the "scariest movie ever" this American horror movie had a budget of $12,000,000. It features the demonic possession of a 12-year-old and her mother's attempt to conduct an exorcism using two Roman Catholic priests.

26. The Last Samurai (2003)

$454,627,263

This action drama features Tom Cruise as a Civil War Veteran. The movie grossed higher in Japan ($119,268,595) than it did in the U.S. ($111,127,263)

25. 300 (2007)

$456,068,181

Gerard Butler, Lena Headey posing for a photo: Actors Gerard Butler and Lena Headley arrive at the UK Premiere of '300', at Vue West End on March 15, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images) Actors Gerard Butler and Lena Headley arrive at the UK Premiere of '300', at Vue West End on March 15, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

In the ancient battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fight against a sprawling Persian army. MPA rated the movie R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.

24. Lucy (2014)

$458,863,600

A college student gets revenge on her captivators after her brain is mysteriously altered by an illegal new drug tested on her.

23. Pretty Woman (1990)

$463,406,268

Richard Gere, Julia Roberts are posing for a picture: Pretty Woman: Buena Vista © Pretty Woman: Buena Vista Pretty Woman: Buena Vista

This heartwarming rom-com about a businessman (Richard Gere) who falls in love with a prostitute (Julia Roberts), performed well on opening weekend. The film was at number one at the box office in the U.S. grossing $11,280,591, and averaging $8,513 per theater.

22. Gladiator (2000)

$465,364,545

Another historical epic from director Riddley Scott, Gladiator takes place in AD 180 and is loosely based on historical figures.

21. The Matrix (1999)

$466,364,845

The first in the iconic The Matrix trilogy, the Wachowski siblings' action movie was rated R for sci-fi violence and brief language.

20. The Hangover (2009)

$469,310,836

Doug and his three best men go to Las Vegas to celebrate his bachelor party, but it's not long before things start to unravel. In 2009, the comedy was the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever in the United States.

19. IT Chapter Two (2019)

$473,093,228

Based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, the supernatural horror is a sequel to the original IT film.

Here are 14 other books you may not have realised were written by King.

Andy Muschietti wearing a suit and tie: Director Andy Muschietti attends a special screening of 'It: Chapter Two' at the Village Recoleta cinema on August 20, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Lalo Yasky/Getty Images) Director Andy Muschietti attends a special screening of 'It: Chapter Two' at the Village Recoleta cinema on August 20, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Lalo Yasky/Getty Images)

18. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

$482,349,603

Directed by prolific director Steven Spielberg, this epic war movie earned its R-rating for graphic depictions of battle in the Invasion of Normandy.

17. Troy (2004)

$497,409,852

Another war movie, this time set in the Bronze Age city of Troy. The movie was produced by units in Malta, Mexico and Britain's Shepperton Studios, with a budget of $175,000,000.

16. Terminator 2: Judgememt Day (1991)

$520,881,154

Also known as T2, Hollywood stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, return to the big screen for a second time.

15. The Revenant (2015)

$532,950,503

John Krasinski et al. standing in front of a television screen: Leonardo DiCaprio announced as nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the film 'The Revenant' during the 88th Oscars Nominations Announcement at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Leonardo DiCaprio announced as nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the film 'The Revenant' during the 88th Oscars Nominations Announcement at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Based on a true story, this gripping thriller stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a frontiersman who fights for survival after being mauled by a bear.

MPA rated the film R for strong frontier combat and violence including gory images, a sexual assault, and strong language.

14. Detective Chinatown 2 (2018)

$544,185,156

An addition from China on the list, Tang and Qin team up to solve a murder in New York's Chinatown. The comedy grossed $541,406,438 in China but fared less well in the U.S. taking only $1,983,984.

13. American Sniper (2014)

$547,426,372

This biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood is loosely based on the 2012 memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.

12. Ted (2012)

$549,368,315

Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut features a teddy bear that comes to life. Not quite as child friendly as it sounds, the comedy is R-rated for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use.

11. Mei ren yu (2016)

$553,810,228

Sony Pictures' blockbuster depicts the love story between beautiful mermaid (Shan) and businessman (Xuan). Mei ren yu's biggest takings were in China, where the fantasy film grossed $526,848,189.

10. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

$569,651,467

Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan are posing for a picture: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images) Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

The first of the Fifty Shades trilogy, based on the book series by British author E. L. James, performed best at the box office, grossing $569,651,467 worldwide.

9. The Hangover Part II (2011)

$586,764,305

The sequel to the 2009 movie was also rated R by MPA. Rotten Tomatoes' critic consensus sums up The Hangover Part II as: "A crueler, darker, raunchier carbon copy of the first installment."

8. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

$612,054,506

This biblical drama film that was produced, co-written and directed by Mel Gibson, raked in half of its takings from the U.S. grossing $370,782,930.

7. Logan (2017)

$619,179,950

Termed by some critics as the "bloodiest X-Men movie" to date, this mutant movie was rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout.

6. Detective Chinatown 3 (2021)

$686,257,563

The most recent entry on this roundup, the third chapter in the Detective Chinatown franchise is set in Tokyo. The movie broke records with the highest opening-day gross of any film in a single market, amassing $163,000,000 million in China.

5. It (2017)

$701,796,444

The R-rated horror was set in the summer of 1989. It features a shape-shifting monster that disguises itself as a clown and preys on children.

4. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

$741,847,937

The second installment in The Matrix film franchise performed best, with international success contributing to its lifetime gross of $741,847,937.

a person wearing sunglasses: 5. “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003). Box office: $281.5 million. Warner Bros. © Warner Bros. 5. “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003). Box office: $281.5 million. Warner Bros.

3. Deadpool (2016)

$782,836,791

The success of the American superhero film even took distributors 20th Century Fox by surprise. The film was released in 80 markets around the world.

2. Deadpool 2 (2018)

$786,470,484

Out-grossing its predecessor, the movie based on the Marvel comics became the highest grossing X-men movie ever.

a statue of a man: 'Deadpool 2' arrives in theaters May 18. Fox © Fox 'Deadpool 2' arrives in theaters May 18. Fox

1. Joker (2019)

$1,074,251,311

And at no. 1...

First place takes us to Gotham City, where a shunned clown embarks upon a life of crime and chaos. Director Tod Phillip's psychological thriller smashed box office records and still stands as the highest grossing R-rated film of all time.

a close up of a person: Australian actor Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) Australian actor Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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