Showgirl Showcase

Hollywood insiders are watching the upcoming Joe Eszterhas-Paul Verhoeven film "Showgirls" carefully -- and not just for a peek at all the naked women. Box-office success despite an NC-17 rating could turn MGM-UA's big-budget fleshfest into a veritable Declaration of Independence for A-list directors. "ALL the directors want the film to succeed and all the other studios are afraid because the R rating has been a controlling factor for directors," says one movie exec. In the past an NC-17 might have led to a financial wipeout by causing video chains and big-screen theaters to balk, but MGM-UA seems eager to ride the guaranteed wave of publicity. If "Showgirls" box-office receipts are boffo, the "NC" in NC-17 may soon have a new meaning: no cuts.