South Africans have gone bonkers for 'Basic Instinct'

August 10, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- No one could say that the strict Calvinist folks of South Africa weren't warned about their latest American import, "Basic Instinct."

Long before the film arrived, the newspapers said that it was sexually explicit, violent, probably sexist.

But, then again, maybe that's why the thriller, starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, already has cracked nearly every box-office record in South Africa.

"Basic Instinct" set a record for its opening weekend and its first week, in South Africa, collecting about $660,000 on 48 screens nationwide. In three weeks, the film has been seen by 650,000 South Africans and grossed about $2 million.

At this rate, it will soon surpass the current box-office champion, "Pretty Woman," which collected $2.8 million in its six-month run.

The success of "Basic Instinct," in a country where magazines still are banned for showing topless women and censors snip away at the dialogue in "L.A. Law" and other American TV series, has been something of a mystery.

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