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On September 22, the movie version of Showgirls opened in 1388 theaters across the country. In its first week it grossed $8.1 million; fourteen days later, it had retreated from 100 of those initial 1388 theaters, and its weekly gross had dropped to $1.8 million. In short time, it would disappear from theaters completely.

And yet, the Showgirls Web site that was put up to promote the movie's theatrical release is still going strong.

Call this one tiny shimmy-step-and-pelvis-thrust forward for the ascendancy of new media. And one tiny shimmy-step-and-hip-grind back for culture in general.

At a time when so many people are wrestling with how much the Web should or should not tolerate, at least one thing is clear: from a financial perspective, it has the ability to accommodate just about anything. Showgirls made its quick, no-encore exit from theaters because hardly anyone was showing up to watch its stultifying salad of tits, crass, and Hollywood-style redemption. Keeping the movie in all those theaters was costing MGM/UA and the theater owners money: there were advertising bills to pay, there were the costs of rent and equipment and employee wages.

In comparison, keeping content on a Web site costs practically nothing, at least from the perspective of a large corporation like MGM/UA. Indeed, if even just one area of a site (i.e. another movie that MGM/UA is promoting) is generating enough hits to justify the costs of maintaining a server and an Internet connection, then all areas of the site are relatively safe from the dangers of replacement.

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