Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Here's The Top Grossing NC-17 Rated Films

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 2, 2011 at 9:56AM

In honor of today's release of Steve McQueen's "Shame" - which Fox Searchlight is releasing uncut with a NC-17 rating - Indiewire is taking a look back at the history of the controversial rating, which has been in effect for over 20 years now.
3
Steve McQueen's "Shame" Tops indieWIRE's Poll of Toronto Critics
Fox Searchlight "Shame"

In honor of today's release of Steve McQueen's "Shame" - which Fox Searchlight is releasing uncut with a NC-17 rating - Indiewire is taking a look back at the history of the controversial rating, which has been in effect for over 20 years now.

The rating was inaugurated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in September 1990 with the release of Philip Kaufman's "Henry & June" (which to this day is the second highest grossing film released with the rating). Initially standing for "No Children Under 17 Admitted," the MPAA changed its meaning to "No One 17 and Under Admitted" in the late 1990s despite the acronym now no longer making sense.

Twenty-five films have been released with an NC-17 since, the vast majority of them receiving the rating due to sexual content. Of them, only 12 have grossed over $1 million, and only two - "Henry & June" and "Showgirls," the latter of which is far and away the highest grossing NC-17 film - grossing over $10 million.

Despite "Showgirls"'s critical reputation, most of the films rated NC-17 are actually exceptional examples of challenging independent and world cinema. From Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education" and "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" to Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution," Todd Haynes' "Poison" and David Cronenberg's "Crash," "Shame" should proudly stand alongside its NC-17 predecessors. And hopefully it manages to find some respectable box office in the process, helping relieve distributors' fears of releasing films with the rating (see "Blue Valentine" last year).

We'll find out Sunday how "Shame" fares in its first weekend of limited release. In the meantime, take a look at the top grossing NC-17 films of all-time.

The Top Grossing NC-17 Rated Films

  • MGM
    1 of 10

    1. Showgirls (1995)

    Domestic Gross: $20,350,754
  • Universal
    2 of 10

    2. Henry & June (1990)

    Domestic Gross: $11,567,449
  • Miramax
    3 of 10

    3. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1990)

    Domestic Gross: $7,724,701
  • Sony Classics
    4 of 10

    4. Bad Education (2004)

    Domestic Gross: $5,211,842
  • Focus
    5 of 10

    5. Lust, Caution (2007)

    Domestic Gross: $4,604,982
  • Miramax
    6 of 10

    6. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)

    Domestic Gross: $4,087,361
  • Fox Searchlight
    7 of 10

    7. The Dreamers (2004)

    Domestic Gross: $2,532,228
  • Fine Line
    8 of 10

    8. Crash (1996)

    Domestic Gross: $2,038,450
  • Aries
    9 of 10

    9. Bad Lieutenant (1992)

    Domestic Gross: $2,000,022
  • New Line
    10 of 10

    10. Wide Sargasso Sea (1993)

    Domestic Gross: $1,614,784

This article is related to: Box Office, Shame







SnagFilms

Watch Over 10,000 Free Movies!

We the Economy: Supply and Dance, Man!

Why is the law of supply and demand so powerful? In this whimsical tale, our friendly narrator guides bored students Jonathan and Kristin through a microeconomic musical extravaganza.

More