Recently it was announced that in an upcoming film Robert Pattinson would appear in various stages of undress, up to and including full frontal nudity. And while the news probably sent hearts aflutter over the heartthrob's dropping trough, one has to ask: so what? Is there anyone in the world who will now see the film that wouldn't before the announcement? Are there Pattinson fans that would have written this off, but have now changed their mind because they might get a peek?
No. And this has nothing to do with him being a man. Nudity is over. While films will still occasionally include it, most of the memorable nudity in this day and age is of the gross-out comedy variety, in which a pudgy 20-something nerd appears in the buff - not to titillate, but to send the crowd into giggle fits. Even actresses pulling a Full Monty are finding that it does nothing to their box office.
Earlier this year, Atom Egoyan's Chloe opened to middling reviews. And despite headliners Liam Neeson and Julliane Moore, the film is best known as the film current belle of the ball Amanda Seyfried bares it all. How much? Google it. (Psst, that's not safe for work.) And therein lies the rub, the reason nudity is dead as Dillinger – The Internet. While Chloe is reported a sexy, erotic thriller starring one of the hottest women alive, those interested in seeing such things can do so any time they want online. Many of you have done so already before getting this far into the story.
The internet has changed everything. And the series of Supreme Court decisions in the 80's to protect pornography as free speech has created an entire industry around providing all the material you want as quickly and readily as you want it. Where once seeing a starlet naked was a reason to get out to the movies, now blogs post nipple slips, leaked sex tapes and even the dreaded limo-shot. If an actress appeared naked in a movie, there's a very good chance you can find that scene faster than than you can get to the end of this paragraph. Don't worry. I'll wait. Again.
Nowadays, all nudity seems to be is something that gets in the way of the story if it last too long. Sure, there are folks that still enjoy a good old fashioned, soft core R-rated erotic thriller. But over the last few years, the box office numbers haven't really supported the making of these films. No, it appears that the days of an actress dropping her top for a sizable check is going the way of the dodo – because it appears that those checks don't pay off any more. While it might push rentals of Chloe a bit higher after next months release on DVD and Blu-ray, I doubt it will see a huge margin in sales as a result of all Seyfried's skin. And let's face it, the Pattinson fans ... they're going to own his next film anyway.