Since the dawn of the R rating in the 1980s, it’s been a more limited stamp on a film’s box office prospects. There’s a much lower box office ceiling on R-rated movies than there is for those of the PG-13 variety, and thus Hollywood doesn’t normally back R-rated ventures with the big budgets that accompany your standard PG-13 franchise-starter. That said, some R-rated films still manage to break out in a big way regardless of budget, striking a chord with audiences that spurs repeat business and strong word of mouth.
Deadpool was one such film, standing as the first R-rated superhero movie programmed against the glut of Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Cinematic Universe efforts, which regularly aim to cross the $1 billion mark. Deadpool’s success caught everyone by surprise, going on to gross over $780 million worldwide. It was a success story, full stop, but it’s far from the only R-rated success story.
Below, we’ve assembled a list of the top 20 highest grossing R-rated movies of all time, ranked according to their domestic box office. It’s a neat overview of the kinds of films that really hit big with audiences, and the diversity of content here is a testament to how hard it is to make an R-rated movie that makes huge amounts of money.