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Basic Instinct is a 1992 neo-noir erotic thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. The film follows San Francisco police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), who is investigating the brutal murder of a wealthy rock star. During the investigation Curran becomes involved in a torrid and intense relationship with the prime suspect, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), an enigmatic writer.
Eszterhas developed the script in the 1980s, which became a subject of a bidding war until Carolco Pictures acquired the rights to the film. From there, Verhoeven signed on to direct and Douglas and Stone joined the project, after many actresses were considered for the role of Tramell. Before its release, Basic Instinct generated heated controversy due to its overt sexuality and graphic depictions of violence, including a scene of rape. It was strongly opposed by gay rights activists, who criticized the film's depiction of homosexual relationships and the portrayal of a bisexual woman as a murderous psychopath.In a 2006 interview, Stone alleged that a scene in which her vulva was exposed as she crossed her legs was filmed without her knowledge.
Basic Instinct premiered in Los Angeles on March 18, 1992, and was released in the United States by TriStar Pictures on March 20, 1992. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the performances of its cast, original score, and editing, but criticized its writing and character development. Despite initial mixed critical reception and public protest, Basic Instinct was a box office success, grossing $352 million worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 1992. Several versions of the film have been released on videocassette, DVD, and Blu-ray including a director's cut with extended footage previously unseen in North American cinemas.