To get a leg up on the Memorial Day weekend box office before Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales takes it over, Paramount previewed Baywatch last night earning $1.25M from shows starting at 2,554 locations from shows starting at 7PM.
The studio is currently comping Baywatch‘s evening cash to such mid-week R-rated comedies as We’re the Millers ($1.7M) and Let’s Be Cops ($1.2M). We’re the Millers went on to make a $6.8M Wednesday before legging out to a $26.4M three-day and $37.9M five-day. Let’s Be Cops earned $5.2M on its first day including previews, and then $17.8M over three and $26.2M over five.
After weathering a slew of misfires stateside this years with xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Rings, Monster Trucks and Ghost in the Shell, Paramount has placed a great emphasis on making sure Baywatch starts their summer right. During Super Bowl, the studio dropped a 30-second clip which drew 1.3M views on YouTube. At CinemaCon, they delighted exhibitors with a slew of bawdy clips, and had Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron enter the Colosseum at Caesars with an ensemble of babes and beekcakes in bathing suits, firing off beach towels into the crowd. The film carries an estimated reported cost before P&A in the high $60M range. Tracking has the R-rated Dwayne Johnson-Zac Efron movie at $30M-plus over three-days and $40M-plus over the five-day holiday (possibly clinching $50M). Note, it’s still early in the weekend. Last night there were 78% colleges out and only 7% K-12. Baywatch is aimed at all those adults who don’t want to sit through a Disney Pirates movie, which is looking at $80M-$85M over four days.
Other comps to Johnson and Efron pics are hard, since they typically previewed on a Thursday night. Last year, Efron’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising grossed $1.67M on its preview night (vs. the original’s $2.5M) which continued on to make $8.8M on Friday and $21.8M opening. Comparing Baywatch to Johnson’s pics San Andreas and Central Intelligence doesn’t make sense as both were PG-13. The wrestler-turned-actor’s last R-rated film was Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain which drew $750K on its Thursday night followed by a $7.5M Friday and $20.2M opening.
Baywatch is directed by Seth Gordon, and produced by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, Gregory J. Bonann, Beau Flynn and Ivan Reitman.