NC-17 films are not known for being box office blockbusters — but the upcoming "50 Shades of Grey" is reportedly "100% going there” and taking the rating rather than softening its erotic content.
What NC-17 films have had box office success? The nine movies below are filled with a range of colorful themes, scenes and characters, from the creative sex scenes in Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" to Helen Mirren's colorful role as a cheating spouse in "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover." In the end, skin reigns king, connecting these less theater-friendly films with sensual scenes of passion, love and a few strategically placed sequins — at least in the case of Elizabeth Berkley's "Showgirls."
Take a quick walk down the steamy side of the theater and check out our slideshow of the top grossing NC-17 rated films of all time.
9. "Crash" (1996)
James Spader and Deborah Unger made the most of his car's backseat in one memorable scene from this film. Domestic Gross: $2,038,450
8. "The Dreamers" (2004) -
A collective love of film leads Matthew, an American student (Michael Pitt) visiting Paris, into a love affair with twins Isabella (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel). A great deal of full frontal nudity and steamy love scenes follow their union. Domestic Gross: $2,532,228
7. "Shame" (2011)
Steve McQueen presented a film full of fast sex and a large amount of full frontal nudity, necessary additions to a film about a sex addict. Domestic Gross: $3,909,002
6. "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down" (1990)
A mental hospital patient is released from prison and tracks down the love of his life, an actress who he once slept with and doesn't remember him at all. After she turns down his advances, he storms in her apartment, ties her up and attempts to convince her that she should be his wife. It's a fairly bizarre tale of bondage that might possibly lead to love. Domestic Gross: $4,087,361
5. "Lust, Caution" (2007)
Ang Lee's film contained several racy sex scenes between Tang Wei and Tony Leung, moments of passion Lee told the New York Times <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/movies/26lim.html?_r=0">were critical to the film's story.</a> <blockquote>“They’re like the fight sequences in ‘Crouching Tiger.’ “It’s life and death. It’s where they really show their character," he said. "And it’s part of the plot, since it’s all about acting, levels of acting. You’re performing when you have sex.” </blockquote> Domestic Gross: $4,604,982
4. "Bad Education" - 2004
Pedro Almodovar's slightly autobiographical tale of sexual exploration includes a marathon number of characters played Gael García Bernal, a broken character seeking revenge on his childhood abuser. Domestic Gross: $5,211,842
3. "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" (1990)
A pristine, dramatically lit bathroom was the setting for one of this film's early moments of passion, a steamy kiss between wife Georgina (Helen Mirren) and her lover Michael (Alan Howard). Domestic Gross: $7,724,701
2. Henry & June (1990)
Uma Thurman and Maria de Medeiros share a memorable smooch is this film about a housewife, Nin, looking to bring a little excitement into her life with the help of free spirited couple Henry Miller and his wife June, played by Thurman. Domestic Gross: $11,567,449
1. "Showgirls" (1995)
As the highest grossing NC-17 release, "Showgirls" maxed out on the sleaze in one of the most memorable Hollywood flops. Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan's romp in the pool was one of the film's more hilariously racy scenes. Domestic Gross: $20,350,754
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