Infamous $45M 'Morbius of the 90s' Flop Finally Available to Watch for Free

Infamous $45M 'Morbius of the 90s' Flop Finally Available to Watch for Free
Image credit: Columbia Pictures, MGM

Experience the joy… the catfights… the god-awful dialogue.


  • The 1995 flop Showgirls is now available on Tubi.
  • It is widely considered one of the worst movies of all time.
  • Showgirls is popular in a so-bad-it's good way, and some have been reevaluating its merits.

Showgirls is officially available to stream for free on Tubi. If you haven't seen this demented stripper movie, gather some friends together and prepare for a demented experience.

What's It About?

A beautiful but mysterious drifter named Nomi (a hilariously over-the-top Elizabeth Berkley) arrives in Las Vegas planning to make her way as a showgirl. When she arrives in town she is immediately robbed by her cab driver, but makes friends with costume designer Molly (Gina Ravera) and frenemies with fellow show girl Cristal (Gina Gershon).

Nomi works in a strip club to make a living, and what follows is an incredibly unhinged 'erotic thriller' through the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas – or someone's idea of Las Vegas. Presumably someone who spent too much time reading Hustler.

Cat fights – assaults – lap dances – revenge beatings – 'sexy' pole licking – gratuitous nudity – it's all there in Showgirls. It's an erotic thriller that's somehow neither erotic nor thrilling, but we challenge you not to have a good time anyway.

How Did It Do?

Showgirls was the Morbius of the 90s. Huge ad campaign – huge hype – and a box office bomb. Against a budget of $45 million, Showgirls made back less than $38 million in its theatrical run.

There are two reasons for this. First, the movie was rated NC-17, the first ever movie to have that rating and still get a wide release. That limited its box office draw.

The second and biggest factor in Showgirls flopping is that… well, it's bad. Really bad. To this day, Showgirls often appears on lists of The Worst Movies Ever Made. It still holds the record for most Golden Raspberry nominations at 13 (with 7 winners, including Worst Director, Worst Actress, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture. Four years later it would win yet another Razzie, for Worst Movie of the Decade.)

Morbius actually has a lower Rotten Tomatoes rating at 15%, yet Showgirls is still being talked about more than 25 years after its release. That's a special kind of awful. Because Morbius is mostly bad for its predictability and stilted characters, it's not actually that fun to watch. On the other hand, Showgirls has that magical combo of features that sends it into 'so-bad-it's-good' territory.

A Cult Classic

In a recent Guardian article about the legacy of Showgirls, critic Steve Rose reminisces:

Critical vocabulary breaks down in the face of its transcendent vulgarity…You can't engineer cult status, but Showgirls accidentally hit upon the perfect formula: big budget yet inherently trashy premise; quotably absurd dialogue ('It must be weird not having anybody cum on you'); ridiculous characters; lavish musical numbers; salacious yet utterly unsexy nudity; and showbiz melodrama played dead straight.

The fact that Showgirls bombed so completely lent it a certain cult cred. Movie theatres held midnight screenings. People rented it on video to watch and ridicule with their friends. It was cheered on in all of its trashiness, and if people were cheering ironically, well – so much the better.


Some have argued that Showgirls was always meant to be a satire taking aim at misogyny, the American Dream, and sexual exploitation. While there can be value in watching the movie that way, nobody on the creative team has ever claimed that was the original intent. Star Kyle MacLachlan recalls watching the screening with horror when he realized it was 'really bad…It provides entertainment, though not in the way I think it was originally intended. It was just… maybe the wrong material with the wrong director and the wrong cast.'

Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas agrees, saying: 'Clearly we made mistakes. Clearly it was one of the biggest failures of our time… That rape scene was a god-awful mistake. In retrospect, a terrible mistake. And musically it was eminently forgettable. And in casting mistakes were made.'

You can stream Showgirls on Tubi now. You know you want to.

Sources: The Guardian, The A.V. Club, The Washington Post.