R-rated movies are officially described as “Restricted – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.” These films are less likely to draw large audiences because much of the moviegoing population is likely to avoid them.
But some R-rated movies certainly draw large audiences and make hundreds of millions from ticket sales. The highest-grossing R-rated movie is “The Passion of the Christ,” released in 2004. Its all-time domestic box office stands at $370.8 million on a production budget of $25 million. Directed by Mel Gibson, it stars Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern, and Christo Jivkov. Perhaps not the highest grossing, but this is the best R-rated movie ever made.
The current rating system for movies was put into place in 1968 and slightly changed two years later. The goal was similar to earlier rating systems for the movie industry. Some content was not appropriate for movies shown to the general public. Other content was appropriate based on age and parental decisions. The 1968 system relied on parental judgment more than any other single factor. Far from R-rated, these are the best G-rated movies ever made.
To determine the 50 R-rated movies with the biggest box office sales, 24/7 Tempo considered 3,891 R-rated movies with all-time domestic 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 came from the Internet Movie Database, an online movie database owned by Amazon.
Dramas, action films, and comedies are equally represented among the top grossing R-rated films, with a few sci-fi and romance films as well. Theater traffic for R-rated fare is obviously growing. Of the 50 movies on the list, only 12 are from the 20th century. The rest were released in 2000 or later. Here are the biggest box office hits of the 2000s.