According to a report conducted by Nielsen PreView published today in The Hollywood Reporter, R-rated comedies don't do so hot at the box office. The timing of these findings seems odd, considering that Step Brothers made a solid $30 million last weekend, while analysts are predicting that another summer comedy slapped with the restricted label, Tropic Thunder, will collect at least that much. Right in the middle of those two releases comes Pineapple Express, which, like Step Brothers and Tropic Thunder, has a built-in core audience interested in raunchy masculine humor. The findings of this report suggest that larger audiences don't want to attend R-rated movies, but it's sort of a pointless observation because R-rated comedies are only made for people who want to see them. Everyone else can check out You Don't Mess with the Zohan.
Of course, there is the occasional R-rated comedy with cross-over appeal, such as Knocked Up, but studios are probably hesitant to make many of those when a safely PG-13 Juno will suffice. Anyway, it's usually not difficult for Hollywood movies to trim a few vulgarities or the fleeting shot of exposed skin in order to knock down the rating a notch and maximize turnout. Horror films are a different story: They usually make bank with the R-rating intact.
Speaking to the 18 and over audience here: Do ratings play any role in the movies you choose to see?