When Marvel’s “Deadpool” was released in February 2016, the film was projected to gross about $55 million. The antihero superhero flick ended up grossing $132 million in its opening weekend, the most of any February release, and became the highest-grossing R-rated film by domestic box office of all time in six weeks.
An R-rating limits the audience of a film and can potentially be a drag on revenue. Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 went to the movies an average of 6.1 times in 2016, the second highest attendance per capita of any age group. By restricting moviegoers younger than 17 from seeing a movie without the accompaniment of an adult, an R rating can significantly impede a film’s box office and profitability.
Before the final version of “Deadpool” was created, 20th Century Fox oscillated between a PG-13 and R rating. While industry analysts predicted the film’s R-rating and graphic violence would be an impediment on the film’s success, Fox’s bet paid off. When adjusted for inflation and overseas box office, a number of other R-rated films have achieved mainstream box office success around the world even greater than that of “Deadpool.”
To determine the most successful R-rated movies of all time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the worldwide lifetime gross of all R-rated movies released in the U.S. with data from Box Office Mojo.