Horror movies continue to draw movie fans looking for a fright into theaters in record numbers and many like their scares R-rated.
Halloween is the perfect time to slice into some bloody entertainment so, to help you decide what to watch this coming All Hallows Eve, I’ve taken a look the 13 most commercially successful R-rated horror movies to date.
Figures for the total box office of each movie are domestic and unadjusted for inflation unless stated otherwise.
13. Scream 2 (Dimension) 1997
Total Box Office: $101.36 million
The second installment in the Scream film series, it’s set two years after the first. Despite production issues such as a rushed schedule, it earned $172 million at the worldwide box office, and some critics even felt it improved on the original movie regarding quality. With a $33 million domestic box office debut, Scream 2 broke December opening weekend records.
12. Annabelle: Creation (Warner Bros) 2017
Total Box Office: $102.09 million
Annabelle: Creation, the fourth movie in The Conjuring franchise, grossed $102.1 million domestically with a worldwide box office total of $306.5 million – it cost just $15 million to make. Its success pushed The Conjuring franchise past the $1 billion mark, making it only the third horror series to achieve that milestone. A third Annabelle movie is currently in production.
11. The Conjuring 2 (Warner Bros) 2016
Total Box Office: $102.47 million
The Conjuring 2 received mostly positive reviews from critics and grossed over $320 million worldwide. The Conjuring 2 was the highest-grossing horror film of the year and, at the time, the second-highest-grossing horror film overall of all time, globally, behind The Exorcist. The Conjuring 2 also spawned The Nun, which appears higher up the list, and The Crooked Man, which is currently in the works.
10. Scream (Dimension) 1996
Total Box Office: $103.05 million
Scream, which satirized the clichés of horror movies but also kick-started a new boom time for the genre, remains the most successful of the Scream film series, receiving a mostly positive critical reception. Despite it being released during the holiday season, it became a box office smash making $103.05 million domestically, unadjusted for inflation, against a budget of $15 million.
9. Paranormal Activity 3 (Paramount) 2011
Total Box Office: $104.03 million
Paranormal Activity 3, the third installment of the Paranormal Activity series was, chronologically, the first as it was a prequel. It broke records when it was released in theaters including a new record for a midnight opening for a horror film ($8 million) and best opening day for a horror film in the U.S .($26.2 million). It made $207 million worldwide against a budget of just $5 million.
8. Interview with the Vampire (Warner Bros) 1994
Total Box Office: $105.26 million
Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated, most critics, lapped up Interview with the Vampire, which was made for $60 million and took $223.7 million at the worldwide box office. For his performance in the lead role of Lestat, Tom Cruise received a record $10 million salary and a percentage of the profits.
7. Paranormal Activity (Paramount) 2009
Total Box Office: $107.02 million
The found footage movie with a budget of $15,000 was a bona fide hit – it earned nearly $108 million at the U.S. box office and a further $85 million internationally for a worldwide total of $193 million. Paramount/DreamWorks acquired the domestic rights for $350,000 – it is the most profitable film ever made, based on return on investment and excluding marketing costs.
6. The Nun (Warner Bros) 2018
Total Box Office: $109.02 million
The Nun, a spin-off of The Conjuring 2, and the fifth installment in The Conjuring Universe has, to date, grossed $330 million worldwide making it the highest grossing of the Conjuring films. It was made for $22 million. Critics were divided, but that obviously didn’t keep audiences away.
5. The Conjuring (Warner Bros) 2013
Total Box Office: $137.4 million
The Conjuring seems to the movie that just keeps on giving. A third Conjuring movie is on the way, it’s spawned three spin-offs with two more on the way, and it’s now one of the top-grossing horror franchises of all time. The Conjuring grossed over $319 million worldwide against its $20 million budget, and critics loved it.
4. The Blair Witch Project (Artisan) 1999
Total Box Office: $140.54 million
Made for $60,000, The Blair Witch Project was a sleeper hit that went on to gross nearly $250 million worldwide making it one of the most successful independent films of all time. It spawned two sequels, and a digital TV show is reportedly in the works. The Blair Witch Project is widely regarded to have popularized the found-footage style utilized in such movies as Paranormal Activity.
3. Get Out (Universal) 2017
Total Box Office: $176.04 million
Jordan Peele hit the jackpot with Get Out. He wrote and helmed, his directorial debut, this chilling gem that grossed $255 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget. Critics loved Get Out; it became a pop culture phenomenon, it was nominated for four Oscars, winning one for Best Original Screenplay, as well as five Critics’ Choice Awards nominations and two Golden Globe nods among others.
2. The Exorcist (Warner Bros) 1973
Total Box Office: $232.91 million
Having earned $66.3 million at the box office during its initial domestic run, it was the second most popular film of that year – The Sting took the top spot. After several reissues, The Exorcist went on to gross $232.91 million domestically. Combined, the Exorcist films have grossed over $630.5 million at the worldwide box office.
1. IT (Warner Bros) 2017
Total Box Office: $327.48 million
Made for $35 million, IT took $700.4 million at the worldwide box office, $327.48 million of that was domestic. As well as being crowned the high-grossing R-rated horror movie of all time, IT broke a number of other records including the record for the largest opening weekend for both a September release and a horror film ($123.1 million), and was the second-biggest debut for an R-rated movie behind Deadpool ($132.4 million). A sequel IT: Chapter Two, hits theaters on September 6, 2019.