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Decline of the Erotic Thriller

Th0533_r The studios don't make many of 'em anymore, and when they released a sequel to the 1992 hit "Basic Instinct," it bombed. Why has the erotic thriller gone on Hollywood's endangered genres list? THR's Tatiana Siegel looks into why nobody wants to make them anymore, from America's Puritan streak to the studios's love affair with the PG-13 rating:

But in recent years, some high-profile actors have tackled the genre with mixed results. Meg Ryan, who made her career cultivating a girl-next-door persona, teamed with Oscar-nominated director Jane Campion in 2003 for the titillating "In the Cut." Ryan's performance was widely panned, and the Screen Gems film was a boxoffice dud, earning less than $19 million worldwide.

But Diane Lane's 2002 turn as an adulterous wife in Adrian Lyne's "Unfaithful" revived her career, earning her a best actress Oscar nomination. The 20th Century Fox film also proved to be a surprise hit, grossing $122 million worldwide.

Nevertheless, the studios have only a handful of erotic thrillers in development. They include the Jim Carrey starrer "The Number 23" at New Line Cinema, the Jennifer Garner starrer "Sabbatical" at Touchstone Pictures and the "Basic Instinct"/Hitchcock homage "Need."

LA Fishbowl disagrees with some of Siegel's conclusions.


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  • Risky Biz blog takes a deep, daily look at the film industry's ups, downs and deals from around the world and the heart of Hollywood. It is edited by media and entertainment journalist Steven Zeitchik, with contributions from The Hollywood Reporter's worldwide team of film editors and reporters. Zeitchik is a Los Angeles-based writer for THR and also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

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