Ability over Appearance: In the script, Molly was a chubby Caucasian girl. She's played by the thin African-American Gina Ravera.
Big Name Fan: Quentin Tarantino has stated that he enjoyed the film, referring to it as the "only ... other time in the last twenty years [that] a major studio made a full-on, gigantic, big-budget exploitation movie", comparing it to Mandingo.
Box Office Bomb: Despite having a $45 million budget (approximately $75 million in 2019 dollars) and a $20 million gross (approximately $42 million in 2019 dollars), it's still the highest grossing NC-17 film of all time. However, the film has since earned well over $100 million in home video sales.
Verhoeven's career recovered somewhat from this nadir, culminating in Starship Troopers (usually considered to be his return to form), before leaving America entirely to return to Europe. It does help that he proved he was a good sport by actually showing up at theRazzies, calling it more entertaining than reading the reviews.
Eszterhas, formerly the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood, took what little cachet he had left and made An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, which finished off both his career and the tradition of using Alan Smithee as a stand-in name for disowned works. That film ALSO won a Worst Picture Razzie, by the way.
Two of the film's studios, Carolco Pictures and Chargeurs, went out of business soon afterwards. Carolco, which sold the film off to Chargeurs, went bankrupt and was bought by StudioCanal, while Chargeurs spun off its library as Pathé.
Genre-Killer: Its instant reputation as a trashy mess rapidly killed off any chance of the NC-17 rating succeeding in its goal of allowing non-porn films with harder-than-R content to get distribution into mainstream cinemas.note Showgirls got the widest release of any NC-17 film ever
Jossed: Kyle MacLachlan was rumoured to have stormed out of the premiere, but denied those reports - saying he "suffered through the whole two hours of it". Composer Toni Halliday, however, was the one who walked out after forty-five minutes.
Never Work with Children or Animals: The only time actresses complained that they felt uncomfortable was during the scenes with the monkeys, who constantly stared at their bare breasts.
Old Shame: Nearly everyone involved was ashamed of it:
Virtually everyone was revolted by the final product, although Paul Verhoeven claimed that critics missed the satire. A few of the cast and crew do poke fun at the movie these days, see below for Elizabeth Berkley.
While he didn't walk out of the premiere as reported, Kyle MacLachlan was embarrassed about the film:
I was absolutely gobsmacked. I said, This is horrible. Horrible! And its a very slow, sinking feeling when youre watching the movie, and the first scene comes out, and youre like, Oh, thats a really bad scene. But you say, Well, thats okay, the next onell be better. And you somehow try to convince yourself that its going to get better and it just gets worse. And I was like, Wow. That was crazy. I mean, I really didnt see that coming. So at that point, I distanced myself from the movie. Now, of course, it has a whole other life as a sort of inadvertent satire. No, satire isnt the right word. But its inadvertently funny. So its found its place. It provides entertainment, though not in the way I think it was originally intended. It was just maybe the wrong material with the wrong director and the wrong cast.
In 1997, Joe Eszterhas said:
Clearly we made mistakes. Clearly it was one of the biggest failures of our time. It failed commercially, critically, it failed on videotape, it failed internationally....In retrospect, part of it was that Paul and I were coming off of Basic, which defied the critics and was a huge success. Maybe there was a certain hubris involved: "We can do what we want to do, go as far out there as we want." That rape scene was a god-awful mistake. In retrospect, a terrible mistake. And musically it was eminently forgettable. And in casting mistakes were made.
Poor Elizabeth Berkley. She did somewhat redeem herself when she appeared on the FOX sitcom Titus as Titus' sister, Shannon, but she wasn't in that many episodes and the show didn't stay on the air very long for her to make people forget that she was in this movie. She started to make a comeback in 2013, appearing on Dancing with the Stars and performing a dance inspired by her infamous scene from Saved by the Bell. She also seems to have embraced her Showgirls fame, by poking fun at herself and interacting with fans on Twitter.
We also started to see much less of Kyle MacLachlan following this movie on film, although he's had a healthy TV career since and provided a voice for Inside Out 20 years later.
Stillborn Franchise: A sequel was envisioned while the movie was in production, this one with Nomi going to Hollywood and taking on the film industry (hence why the ending includes a sign for the Los Angeles freeway). Needless to say, the disaster of the film put a kibosh on those plans. That said, a Direct-to-Video sequel called Penny's from Heaven did show up in 2011.
Throw It In!: Elizabeth Berkley suggested Nomi mispronouncing 'Versace'.
Unintentional Period Piece: The film is a time capsule of the final days of "old" Las Vegas. The premise of an anti-heroine finding stardom in a showgirl revue at the Stardust Hotel and Casino was completely dated well before the resort was imploded in 2007; at the Turn of the Millennium, such shows were marginalized/put out of business by the more elaborate, ambitious, and classier productions of Siegfried and Roy, Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, and others like them. No hotel newer than the Luxor (opened 1993) appears, and characters drive on downtown's Fremont Street (by the time the film hit theaters, it became a pedestrian-only thoroughfare).
Vindicated by Video: Showgirls bombed at the box office, but it became one of MGM/UA's biggest sellers on home video.
Drew Barrymore was the original choice for Nomi and Madonna was the original choice for Crystal. Drew turned the part down, uncomfortable with the amount of nudity in the script. There was also the slight problem that she couldn't dance.
Jennifer Lopez auditioned for a part in the film. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she described it as the worst audition of her career.
Write What You Know: The rape scene, and the subsequent refusal of the Las Vegas big shots to punish those responsible, is based on a real incident that Joe Eszterhas learned of while he worked for Rolling Stone magazine.
Showgirls managed to win the 1995 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture as well as the special Worst Picture of the 90's award a few years later. Verhoeven was also one of the first to attend the Razzies and accept the award altogether. Showgirls was the third erotic-themed film in a row to win the Worst Picture Razzie; Indecent Proposal and Color of Night came before it, and Striptease followed it.