How much sex is enough? Ever since director Paul Verhoeven sliced 42 seconds of graphic groping from his controversial $40 million fleshfest, Basic Instinct, to receive a contractually required R rating, industry observers have speculated that the mega-steamy NC-17 cut would be released on home video. It now appears, however, that prurient American viewers will just have to wait a little longer.
European audiences have been devouring an uncut version of Basic Instinct in huge numbers since summer: Tickets for its Spanish debut were sold out three days in advance. The movie raked in $107 million in major European markets from May to September, and its cumulative overseas take, according to Variety Europe, was $164 million as of Aug. 31 (that’s $47 million more than the film grossed in the U.S.).
Despite widespread reports that Pioneer LaserDisc was planning to put out an NC-17-rated ”special edition” laserdisc (with commentary from Verhoeven as well as the extra footage) on Nov. 19, the company now says it may delay the release. Why? So as not to conflict with LIVE Home Video’s plans to issue a different version — a ”director’s cut” of yet undisclosed nature — on videocassette.
In the end, though, the uncut Instinct‘s tortuous path to video may just be small-screen sound and fury: The movie’s million-dollar screenwriter, Joe Eszterhas, says of the rated and unrated versions: ”They’re basically the same movie.”