'Deadpool' has made more money globally than any other R-rated movie
Do you have any idea how many tacos $745 million buys?
Deadpool has officially achieved global box office nirvana, raking in more dollars from ticket sales than any other R-rated movie, ever. Its $745 million figure counts both domestic ticket sales ($349.4 million) and foreign ticket sales ($396.3 million).
To be clear: Deadpool is not the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time domestically. That distinction still belongs to The Passion of the Christ, which earned $370.8 million at the U.S. box office.
Deadpool isn't even in the #2 spot on that list; that's currently occupied by American Sniper ($350.1 million). That said, unless all Deadpool prints throughout the world spontaneously combust in the next few days, Fox's mutant anti-hero will unseat Sniper before the coming weekend. The two films are separated by less than $1 million at this point.
It's also not really accurate to call Deadpool the highest-grossing R-rated movie worldwide, as several headlines Tuesday have — because
formally, there's no such thing as "highest-grossing R-rated movie globally."
Ratings assigned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are specifically for American audiences. Different global markets have their own approaches to providing content ratings.
In the U.K., for example, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) assigns alphanumeric ratings similar to those of the MPAA, but with younger thresholds. Deadpool is rated "15" in the U.K., meaning it's illegal to sell a ticket to anyone under the age of 15. By contrast, the barrier for an R-rating is 17 in the U.S.
Australia's classification board, on the other hand, is stricter with regards to content. There, Deadpool was tagged with an R18+ rating, meaning only adults 18 or older can buy a ticket.
Australia and the U.K. are significant here, because they're also Deadpool's highest-performing foreign markets: It's made $53.2 million from the latter and $31.4 million from the former. The movie also earned more than $20 million from a number of other markets, including Brazil, France, Germany, Russia and South Korea.
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Each of those markets -- along with others where Deadpool was released -- has its own classification system. Some say the movie is kosher for younger audiences; some skew older. Not all ratings systems are created equally.
So while it's true that Deadpool has made more money internationally than any other R-rated movie, it still falls short of the only box office record that is typically tracked when it comes to American movie ratings: domestic performance.
On the all-time international box office list, Deadpool sits at #68. Every film ahead of it on the list received a PG-13 rating or lower from the MPAA. The next R-rated movie on the list is The Matrix Reloaded, at #71, which earned $742.1 million globally.
We're not trying to knock Deadpool's success. The movie's been a revelatory wake-up call to Hollywood that comic book movie-loving audiences are more than just the "family-friendly" crowd. Its sensational box office, both in the U.S. and around the world, is proof of that.
But context is important. Again: MPAA ratings don't apply outside the U.S., and there are looser age constraints on who can and can't see the movie in other markets. That's why there's no "official" global record for R-rated movies.
Kudos to Deadpool -- but maybe don't notch another imaginary trophy until The Passion of the Christ falls.
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