Showgirls is a 1995 erotic drama film written by Joe Eszterhas and directed by Paul Verhoeven. It stars former teen actress Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, and Gina Gershon. The film centers on a "street-smart" drifter who ventures to Las Vegas and climbs the seedy hierarchy from stripper to showgirl.
Produced on a then-sizable budget of approximately $45 million, significant controversy and hype surrounding the film's amounts of sex and nudity preceded its theatrical release. In the United States, the film was rated NC-17 for "nudity and erotic sexuality throughout, some graphic language, and sexual violence." Showgirls was the first (and to date only) NC-17 rated film to be given a wide release in mainstream theaters. Distributor United Artists dispatched several hundred staffers to theaters across North America playing Showgirls to ensure that patrons would not sneak into the theater from other films, and to make sure film-goers were over the age of 17. Audience restriction due to the NC-17 rating coupled with poor reviews resulted in the film becoming a box office bomb, grossing just $37 million.
Despite a negative theatrical and critical consensus, Showgirls enjoyed success on the home video market, generating more than $100 million from video rentals, allowing the film to turn a profit and become one of MGM's top 20 all-time bestsellers. For its video premiere, Verhoeven prepared an R-rated cut for rental outlets that would not carry NC-17 films. This edited version runs 3 minutes shorter (128 minutes) and deletes some of the more graphic footage. Despite being consistently ranked as one of the worst films ever made, Showgirls has become regarded as a cult classic, was released on Blu-ray in June 2010 and has even been subject to critical re-evaluation, with some notable directors and critics declaring it a serious satire worthy of praise.
(Summary from Wikipedia)