R-rated movies are at their lowest box office revenue point in the past 25 years and have continued to drop, according to Motion Picture Association ratings. While this year’s box office ticket sales are up from last year, they’re down more than 30% compared to 2019.
One reason for the R-rated films having low attendance in box office statistics is that more drama and romance genres are being pushed to home streaming services while action and adventure films are continuing to be shown at the theater.
Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, told Axios that movie theaters have found that films with PG-13 ratings end up bringing in more revenue than R-rated films.
“If the greatest chance of box office success is having a PG-13 rating, or not having an R rating, then that’s where the industry really had to go if that was the primary goal,” Dergarabedian said.
The movies that have grossed over $100 million this year have had PG-13 ratings. The only exceptions have been two G-rated movies, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” and one R-rated film, “Nope,” according to Axios.
Meanwhile, indie films that were likely to have an R-rating were pushed to streaming services rather than theaters, according to Slate.
R-rated movies have stayed around on streaming services despite fewer appearances at the box office and some movies continue to use the rating in order to add to their overall success.
Collider reported that “Bullet Train” had retained a top box office spot with its original R rating over the weekend despite the drop in R-rated movie attendance.
“Some of the best movies of all time have benefitted from wearing the R rating as a badge of honor and in fact many horror (and action) films benefit from this harder-edged designation, which can often lead to greater success for these films,” Dergarabedian said.