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In a bold and risky move, Paramount and Skydance decided to make the film adaptation of the classic television show R-rated, with as many F-bombs as bikinis.
Baywatch got a jump on the long Memorial Day weekend by opening a day early and is projected to gross in the $40 million range for the five days, although Paramount is being more conservative in suggesting the low $30 million range. The movie will be a big test of Johnson’s star power, considering reviews have skewered it.
Skydance Media co-financed Baywatch, which cost north of $60 million and also stars Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach and Ilfenesh Hadera.
Directed by Seth Gordon, the movie follows devoted (and buff) lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Johnson) as he butts heads with a brash new recruit (Efron). Together they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.
Baywatch rolled out in its first 2,554 theaters Wednesday evening. By Thursday, it will be playing in a total of 3,647 locations. It doesn’t open in its first 32 foreign markets until June 2.
On Friday, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales enters the fray. The fifth installment in the Disney franchise is projected to win the holiday with $80 million or more. Overseas, it sets sail in nearly every major market.
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