Top 10 R-Rated Horror Movies That Dominated the Box Office in 2023

In 2023, the box office was less about popcorn flicks and more about popcorn spills, thanks to a parade of R-rated horror movies that scared the change out of viewers’ pockets. These films didn’t just haunt the dreams of their audiences; they also haunted the top of the revenue charts, proving that a good scare can be just as profitable as a superhero cape. From demonic nuns making a comeback to a new twist on the classic slasher formula, 2023’s horror lineup was as diverse as the screams they elicited. So, grab your night light and prepare to run down the corridor of the year’s top 10 R-rated horror hits that made audiences scream all the way to the bank.

RankMovie TitleRelease Date2023 GrossTickets Sold
1Scream VIMar 10, 2023$108,161,38910,271,736
2The Nun IISep 8, 2023$86,267,0738,192,504
3Evil Dead RiseApr 21, 2023$67,233,0546,384,905
4The Exorcist: BelieverOct 6, 2023$65,517,8156,222,014
5Saw XSep 29, 2023$53,607,8985,090,968
6Talk To MeJul 28, 2023$48,299,4364,586,841
7The Pope’s ExorcistApr 14, 2023$20,009,3801,900,226
8ThanksgivingNov 17, 2023$19,617,0001,862,962
9The BlackeningJun 16, 2023$17,707,2071,681,596
10The Last Voyage of the DemeterAug 11, 2023$13,637,1801,295,078

In 2023, the landscape of R-rated horror movies saw a shift compared to 2022. While 2022 was headlined by Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” which grossed over $123 million, 2023’s top spot was claimed by “Scream VI” with over $108 million, indicating a strong but slightly lower top-tier performance. The overall pattern, however, suggests a consistent appetite for R-rated horror, with both years showcasing a diverse range of themes and styles. In 2022, films like “Smile” and “The Black Phone” followed closely behind “Nope,” both crossing the $90 million mark, showcasing the genre’s ability to attract audiences with both original stories and sequels. Contrastingly, 2023 saw “The Nun II” and “Evil Dead Rise” as the runners-up, with the former earning over $86 million. These figures indicate a sustained, but evolving interest in horror films, with 2023 continuing the trend of successful R-rated horror films, albeit with a different set of titles leading the charge in box office returns.

Scream VI – $108 Million

scream vi 2023

Scream VI, which stood as the top-grossing R-rated horror movie of 2023 with a box office total of $108,161,389, was generally well-received by critics and audiences. The film earned a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, reflecting a largely positive critical consensus. On IMDb, it received a moderate score of 6.5/10, indicative of a diverse range of viewer opinions.

Common Sense Media gave “Scream VI” a rating of 3 out of 5, suggesting a balanced viewpoint on the film’s overall content and quality. The audience ratings also showed a relatively high average of 3.7, based on 1,312 ratings.

The cast was led by Courteney Cox reprising her role as Gale Weathers, adding a familiar face to the franchise. Joining her were Dermot Mulroney as Bailey, Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter, and Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter, further anchoring the film with strong performances. The ensemble also included Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin, Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin, and Hayden Panettiere returning as Kirby Reed, adding depth to the storyline.

New additions to the cast included Tony Revolori as Jason, Samara Weaving as Laura, Jack Champion as Ethan, Liana Liberato as Quinn, Devyn Nekoda as Anika, and Josh Segarra as Danny. Roger L. Jackson continued to voice the iconic Ghostface, a character central to the franchise’s identity.

The Nun II – $86 Million

the nun ii 2023

The Nun II, which achieved significant box office success with a gross of $86,267,073, received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. The film garnered a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a split in critical opinion. On IMDb, The Nun II received a moderate score of 5.6/10, suggesting varied reactions from the audience.

Common Sense Media rated the film 2 out of 5, indicating a relatively lower assessment of the movie’s content and appeal. Additionally, audience ratings averaged out to 3.0 based on 1,382 ratings, reflecting a range of viewer responses.

These ratings reveal that while “The Nun II” attracted viewers to theaters, likely due to its connection with the popular Conjuring universe, it garnered a spectrum of reactions in terms of its storytelling and horror elements.

Evil Dead Rise – $67 Million

evil dead rise 2023

Evil Dead Rise, which recorded a box office gross of $67,233,054, was met with generally favorable reviews from critics but had a more mixed response from audiences. The film scored an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a strong positive consensus among critics. On IMDb, it received a moderate rating of 6.5/10, reflecting a range of viewer opinions.

Common Sense Media gave “Evil Dead Rise” a middle-ground rating of 3 out of 5, suggesting a balanced view of the film’s content and appeal. Audience ratings, however, showed a slightly lower average of 2.9 based on 2,338 ratings, indicating that while the film was well-received critically, audience reactions were more varied.

These ratings demonstrate that “Evil Dead Rise” was generally successful in appealing to horror enthusiasts and critics, even if audience reactions were not uniformly positive.

The Exorcist: Believer – $65 Million

the exorcist believer 2023

The Exorcist: Believer, while achieving notable box office success with a gross of $65,517,815, received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. The film garnered a rating of 4.9/10 on IMDb, indicating a divided response among viewers. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received a 22% rating, reflecting critical consensus that was largely unfavorable.

Additionally, Common Sense Media gave the film a moderate score of 3 out of 5, suggesting a middling reception in terms of content and quality. Audience ratings, as summarized on various platforms, averaged out to 3.0 based on 1,594 ratings, further indicating a range of reactions from the audience.

These mixed reviews suggest that while “The Exorcist: Believer” drew crowds to theaters, possibly due to its association with the iconic “Exorcist” franchise, it did not consistently resonate with viewers and critics in terms of storytelling, execution, or horror elements.

Saw X – $53 Million

saw x 2023

Saw X, part of the long-running Saw franchise, demonstrated a strong performance in terms of critical and audience reception. The film achieved a notable 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating substantial positive feedback from critics. On IMDb, it received a favorable score of 6.7/10, reflecting a generally positive reaction from viewers.

In terms of audience ratings, Saw X garnered an impressive average rating of 4.2, based on 808 ratings.

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A long time Potterhead and gamer, I keep up to date with everything in the Wizarding World from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts to Hogwarts Legacy.

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