Paramount and Skydance’s raunchy comedy “Baywatch” held previews a day earlier than usual for its Memorial Day weekend release, earning $1.25 million from 2,554 screens.
Trackers have the film finishing second at the box office this weekend behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with a five-day total of $40-42 million. Paramount is comparing the preview results to a pair of comedies that had mid-week August releases: Fox’s “Let’s Be Cops,” which made $1.2 million from previews in 2014 and had a five-day opening of $26 million, and WB/New Line’s “We’re The Millers,” which made $1.7 million at previews in 2013 en route to a $38 million five-day total.
“Baywatch” arrives in the midst of a rough 2017 for Paramount, highlighted by the struggles of “Ghost In The Shell,” which made only $169 million worldwide against a $110 million budget before P&A. With a budget in the high $60 million range and the popular Dwayne Johnson on the marquee, “Baywatch” is aiming to start a rebound summer for the studio, with tentpole franchise “Transformers” waiting in the wings. Still, the film was savaged by critics, receiving just 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so Johnson’s power as a box office draw will be put to the test.
“Baywatch” stars Johnson as Mitch Buchannon, the lifeguard made famous by David Hasselhoff on the hit 90s TV series, with Zac Efron as a disgraced Olympic swimmer who joins Mitch’s lifeguard crew with nowhere else to turn. Together, the two plan to stop a criminal plot unfolding on their beach. Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera also star. The film is directed by Seth Gordon (“The King of Kong”) and written by Damian Shannon & Mark Swift (“Freddy vs. Jason”). Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, Gregory J. Bonann, Beau Flynn, and Ivan Reitman are producing.