Apparently Shannen Doherty in handcuffs has international appeal.

“Acts of Obsession,” a movie that features the “Beverly Hills, 90210″ star’s first nude scene, has created a groundswell of interest among buyers for Saban Intl., which is using the movie to help sell its most ambitious slate of movies to date.

Two screenings of “Acts of Obsession” on Tuesday and Wednesday played to overflow crowds here at Mifed, as distributors from both the United States and foreign markets angled to get a glimpse of the controversial star.

Promotional materials feature a photo of Doherty with handcuffs dangling from her left arm.

“She’s in the press on a regular basis in every major territory,” said Saban Intl. president Stan Golden, attempting to explain the Mifed phenomenon.

Publicity windfall

Golden said Doherty’s recent marriage, a major article in Vanity Fair, and an affair with co-star Judd Nelson on the set of “Acts of Obsession” have all created awareness for the movie.

Currently, Saban has reached basic agreements for theatrical releases of “Acts of Obsession” in Germany, France and Italy.

Early ’94 release

Golden said that he expects one of several U.S. distributors to make a deal for the domestic rights in the next several weeks for a first-quarter of 1994 release.

“We’ve had interest from every major studio and several secondary players,” Golden said.

The buzz on “Acts of Obsession” has helped create increased foot traffic for Saban, which has a spate of commercial movies at the market, including the Harry Hamlin starrer “Under Investigation” and the comedy “No Dessert Dad, Until You Mow the Lawn.”

Golden said that Saban, which has a stronghold in television animation, views “Acts of Obsession” as exactly the type of picture it is counting on to build its movie division.

The picture features Doherty as a woman who gets involved in an illicit love triangle with her husband and therapist.

Worldwide marketability

“The film is in a genre that’s marketable on a worldwide basis, starting with the U.S. market,” Golden said.

“There’s a niche for erotic thrillers because — for the most part — you don’t find the studios focused on the genre.”

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