Right next to action films and family films, comedies are a big business in the world of Hollywood. Many family films, like Toy Story, also fall into the category of comedy but if you remove those from the equation, you’re left with R-rated comedies filled with cursing, sexual innuendo and violence. There’s three sequels in the top ten, with only one franchise submitting two of its three films in the top tier. Box Office Mojo supplied the initial grosses, and all of the films on the list were adjusted for inflation, which is why the number one comedy might surprise some people.
9 22 Jump Street
8 American Pie 2
The sequel to sleeper hit, American Pie made more money than its predecessor. Domestically, it grossed $145 million, compared to $100 million for the first flick. A worldwide total of $287 million in 2001, propelled it to became a highly successful film. The first Pie’s budget was only $11 million, but the sequel hovered around $30 million – still a low budget, considering it made its budget back and more, during opening weekend. To compare, the fourth film, 2012's American Reunion, only made $57 million in domestic receipts. Adjusted for inflation, American Pie 2 has made around $378 million, which could definitely buy a lot of baked goods.
7 Wedding Crashers
The first of two Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson comedic collaborations, Wedding Crashers became a huge hit in the summer of 2005. The boys play bachelors who, well, crash weddings and have sex with female members of the wedding parties. Although the film didn't open at number one, it would hit number one in the third weekend of release - but grossed $33 million over its initial weekend. It ended up grossing $209 million domestically and $75 million in foreign markets. Adjusted for inflation, that brings the grand total to $336 million, which would cover the cost of one Kardashian wedding
6 Scary Movie
The Wayans Brothers jump started the parody film genre when they made the first of five films that poked fun of horror movies like, Scream and Blair Witch Project. In July of 2000, Scary Movie opened with $42 million, unheard of for a comedy at the time. (The budget was only $19 million) It grossed $157 million domestically and $121 million internationally, for a worldwide gross of $278 million. Adjusted for inflation, that comes out to a frightening amount of $371 million. The sequel, which came out a year later, struggled to even hit the $100 million mark domestically. But that didn't stop the Wayans from making more films, including last year’s Scary Movie 5 – the lowest grossing one in the franchise. Maybe it’s time to stop, eh?
5 Animal House
The original gross-out comedy, Animal House established heavy partying in college films and unleashed toga parties onto the world. The film also gave us Kevin Bacon and John Belushi’s Bluto character. With a budget of only $3 million, House grossed $141 million. Back then, major films started out in limited release then went wide, so it made $276,000 showing in only 12 theaters. If you adjust the film’s gross for inflation, it comes out to $476 million.
4 The Hangover
No one probably knew that a bunch of dudes who went to Vegas - Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms - and partied way too hard, would become the worldwide phenomenon that The Hangover became. The first in the trilogy opened with a hearty $44 million weekend take and grossed $467 million worldwide, or over $500 million when adjusted. It was successful enough to spawn two sequels, one of which performed much better than the other. The Hangover III, which came out last year, made 69 percent of its gross in foreign markets, and wasn't quite as successful as the other films.
4. There's Something About Mary
In July of 1998, a little comedy came out of nowhere, crushed its competition, and made Cameron Diaz a gigantic star. Mary was made for a mere $23 million – a standard rate for comedies back then – and grossed $369 million worldwide, more than half of it being foreign gross. Part of the film’s success can be attributed to appealing to both men and women, as there was enough romance to keep female audiences interested and enough puerile humor to engage men. The film didn't open at number one, but eight weeks later, it climbed to the number one position, proving how word-of-mouth was a great asset to the film. Adjusted for inflation, Mary tops at a worldwide gross of $524 million, with $250 million of it being domestic. That's a lot of money to buy an adequate supply of hair gel.
Technically, Ted’s the highest grossing non-sequel R-rated comedy without inflation added in, but if we’re talking worldwide gross (and we are), The Wolf Pack has Mark Wahlberg’s talking teddy bear beat. Ted grossed $218 million domestically and went on to gross an astounding $549 million worldwide. The film was so successful that a sequel is in the works. A fluffy teddy bear might have been a win for writer/director Seth MacFarlane, but his A Million Ways to Die in the West only made $82 million worldwide.
2 The Hangover Part II
Even though the sequel to 2009’s The Hangover grossed $586 million worldwide, its budget was around $100 million, which was over three times as much as the original. Still, both films were huge hits, and both films performed better overseas than they did in America. Apparently, the rest of the world enjoyed a raunchy comedy about a group of wayward, debauched friends with pet monkeys, as much North Americans did.
1 Beverly Hills Cop
Eddie Murphy’s potty-mouthed action comedy grossed over $200 million domestically in 1984, and if you add in inflation, that comes to a total of $534 million – and that’s just domestic. The film’s worldwide gross in 1984 was $316 million, inflated to almost $700 million in today’s market. Back then, movies made more domestically than they did internationally, but today's films fluctuate between the two markets. Unfortunately for Murphy, Cop’s two sequels didn't fare as well, but it was just announced that a fourth installment will begin shooting soon in Detroit. Axel Foley, is back.