Special Report

The Highest-Grossing R-Rated Movies of All Time

In 2020, the highest-grossing movie in the U.S. — the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence action comedy “Bad Boys for Life” — was rated R. Since 1968, when the Motion Picture Association instituted its film rating system, over half the movies they’ve considered have been assigned an R (“restricted”) rating for containing adult material such as persistent profanity, graphic and realistic violence, nudity, or drug use. 

While it’s not surprising that “Bad Boys for Life,” which was full of profanity and violence, received an R rating, it’s uncommon for an R-rated film to make so much money. The rating affects viewership — and box office numbers — by limiting access: Children under 17 are barred from viewing R-rated movies in theaters unless they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian. PG and PG-13 movies, which merely call for parental guidance, gross twice as much on average.

24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 50 R-rated movies with the biggest box office. Dramas, action films, and comedies are equally represented in the mix, with a few sci-fi and romance films also present. Audience appetites for R-rated fare is obviously growing: Of the 50 movies on our list, only 12 are from the 20th century; the rest were released in 2000 or later. 

Click here to see the R-rated movies with the biggest box office

To identify the R-rated movies with the biggest box office, 24/7 Tempo reviewed 3,891 R-rated movies with box office data from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Production budgets also came from The Numbers. Principle cast and genre for each movie come from IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon.  

Only six horror films made the cut, including “Get Out” and “The Exorcist,” considered two of the best horror movies of all time. 

Some performers show up repeatedly in these films. Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, and Laurence Fishburn each star in three of the films, while five of the films star Bradley Cooper, one of the most bankable actors of the 21st century.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

50. Neighbors (2014)
> Domestic Box Office: $150.1 million
> Production budget: $18 million — #934 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Lisa Kudrow
> Genre: Comedy

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

49. American Hustle (2013)
> Domestic Box Office: $150.1 million
> Production budget: $40 million — #368 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence
> Genre: Crime, Drama

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

48. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
> Domestic Box Office: $150.4 million
> Production budget: $170 million — #03 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken, Claire Danes
> Genre: Action,Sci-Fi

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

47. We’re the Millers (2013)
> Domestic Box Office: $150.4 million
> Production budget: $37 million — #448 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms
> Genre: Comedy, Crime

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

46. Sex and the City (2008)
> Domestic Box Office: $152.6 million
> Production budget: $57.5 million — #199 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis
> Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

45. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
> Domestic Box Office: $153.7 million
> Production budget: $20 million — #822 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jürgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

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Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

44. Jerry Maguire (1996)
> Domestic Box Office: $154.0 million
> Production budget: $50 million — #243 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, Kelly Preston
> Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

43. Fatal Attraction (1987)
> Domestic Box Office: $156.6 million
> Production budget: $14 million — #1,092 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer, Ellen Latzen
> Genre: Drama, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Dimension Films

42. Scary Movie (2000)
> Domestic Box Office: $157.0 million
> Production budget: $19 million — #914 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Marlon Wayans, Carmen Electra
> Genre: Comedy

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

41. The Firm (1993)
> Domestic Box Office: $158.3 million
> Production budget: $42 million — #360 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook
> Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

40. 1917 (2019)
> Domestic Box Office: $159.2 million
> Production budget: $100 million — #35 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth
> Genre: Drama, Thriller, War

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

39. Halloween (2018)
> Domestic Box Office: $159.3 million
> Production budget: $10 million — #1,244 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney
> Genre: Crime, Horror, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

38. The Heat (2013)
> Domestic Box Office: $159.6 million
> Production budget: $43 million — #356 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Sandra Bullock, Michael McDonald, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

37. Straight Outta Compton (2015)
> Domestic Box Office: $161.2 million
> Production budget: $28 million — #634 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr.
> Genre: Biography, Drama, History

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Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

36. Django Unchained (2012)
> Domestic Box Office: $162.8 million
> Production budget: $100 million — #35 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington
> Genre: Drama, Western

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

35. Hannibal (2001)
> Domestic Box Office: $165.1 million
> Production budget: $87 million — #65 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta
> Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

34. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
> Domestic Box Office: $166.2 million
> Production budget: $40 million — #368 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford
> Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

33. Gone Girl (2014)
> Domestic Box Office: $167.8 million
> Production budget: $61 million — #166 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
> Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

32. Bridesmaids (2011)
> Domestic Box Office: $169.2 million
> Production budget: $32.5 million — #533 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Terry Crews
> Genre: Comedy, Romance

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Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

31. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
> Domestic Box Office: $171.0 million
> Production budget: $40 million — #368 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne
> Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

30. Rain Man (1988)
> Domestic Box Office: $172.8 million
> Production budget: $25 million — #691 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen
> Genre: Drama

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

29. Air Force One (1997)
> Domestic Box Office: $173.0 million
> Production budget: $85 million — #66 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson
> Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

28. The Matrix (1999)
> Domestic Box Office: $173.4 million
> Production budget: $65 million — #138 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
> Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

27. Us (2019)
> Domestic Box Office: $175.1 million
> Production budget: $20 million — #822 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
> Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

26. Get Out (2017)
> Domestic Box Office: $176.0 million
> Production budget: $5 million — #1,530 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
> Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

25. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
> Domestic Box Office: $176.5 million
> Production budget: $22 million — #793 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans
> Genre: Comedy, Romance

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

24. Pretty Woman (1990)
> Domestic Box Office: $178.4 million
> Production budget: $14 million — #1,092 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo
> Genre: Comedy, Romance

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

23. The Revenant (2015)
> Domestic Box Office: $183.6 million
> Production budget: $135 million — #13 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

22. Gladiator (2000)
> Domestic Box Office: $187.7 million
> Production budget: $103 million — #31 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

21. 22 Jump Street (2014)
> Domestic Box Office: $191.7 million
> Production budget: $50 million — #243 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

20. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
> Domestic Box Office: $203.5 million
> Production budget: $100 million — #35 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick
> Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

19. Bad Boys for Life (2020)
> Domestic Box Office: $204.4 million
> Production budget: $90 million — #54 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

18. Wedding Crashers (2005)
> Domestic Box Office: $209.2 million
> Production budget: $40 million — #368 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Christopher Walken
> Genre: Comedy, Romance

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

17. 300 (2006)
> Domestic Box Office: $210.6 million
> Production budget: $60 million — #168 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West
> Genre: Action, Drama

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

16. It Chapter Two (2019)
> Domestic Box Office: $211.6 million
> Production budget: $70 million — #109 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa
> Genre: Drama, Fantasy ,Horror

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

15. A Star Is Born (2018)
> Domestic Box Office: $215.3 million
> Production budget: $36 million — #455 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Greg Grunberg
> Genre: Drama, Music, Romance

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Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures

14. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
> Domestic Box Office: $216.3 million
> Production budget: $65 million — #138 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns
> Genre: Drama, War

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

13. Ted (2012)
> Domestic Box Office: $218.7 million
> Production budget: $50 million — #243 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale
> Genre: Comedy

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

12. Logan (2017)
> Domestic Box Office: $226.3 million
> Production budget: $127 million — #16 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook
> Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

11. The Exorcist (1973)
> Domestic Box Office: $230.3 million
> Production budget: $12 million — #1,167 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb
> Genre: Horror

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

10. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
> Domestic Box Office: $234.8 million
> Production budget: $15 million — #1,014 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

9. The Hangover Part II (2011)
> Domestic Box Office: $254.5 million
> Production budget: $80 million — #76 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha
> Genre: Comedy

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

8. The Hangover (2009)
> Domestic Box Office: $277.3 million
> Production budget: $35 million — #461 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Ed Helms
> Genre: Comedy

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

7. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
> Domestic Box Office: $281.6 million
> Production budget: $150 million — #06 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
> Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

6. Deadpool 2 (2018)
> Domestic Box Office: $324.6 million
> Production budget: $110 million — #22 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

5. It (2017)
> Domestic Box Office: $328.8 million
> Production budget: $35 million — #461 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis
> Genre: Horror

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. Joker (2019)
> Domestic Box Office: $335.5 million
> Production budget: $55 million — #204 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy
> Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

3. American Sniper (2014)
> Domestic Box Office: $350.1 million
> Production budget: $58 million — #195 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis
> Genre: Action, Biography, Drama

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

2. Deadpool (2016)
> Domestic Box Office: $363.1 million
> Production budget: $58 million — #195 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein
> Genre: Action, Adventure,Comedy

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Source: Courtesy of Newmarket Films

1. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
> Domestic Box Office: $370.8 million
> Production budget: $25 million — #691 highest out of 4,678 movies
> Starring: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern, Christo Jivkov
> Genre: Drama

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