Since Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. is debuting their R-rated, tongue-in-cheek comedic adaptation of a popular action series this week with CHiPs, it makes sense for Paramount/Viacom Inc. to debut the second trailer for their big R-rated, tongue-in-cheek, comedic adaptation of a popular action series. As such, here is the second trailer for Baywatch.
Like the last trailer, this one uses its R rating as something approaching a badge of honor. So, yeah, this is a red-band trailer and not safe for work sans earphones.
This is one of Paramount’s big summer Spring/summer releases, with Ghost in the Shell arriving next week and Transformers: The Last Knight dropping on June 23. Under normal circumstances, this star-driven but comparatively inexpensive (I don’t have an official budget, but closer to Central Intelligence than San Andreas) comedy would be akin to counterprogramming or at least a relatively safe bet in a blockbuster-filled summer.
Yet since Paramount has so few films this year, and so few “big” films between Transformers 5 and Daddy’s Home 2 in November, Baywatch is a more important release. The good news is that this one seems like a pretty safe bet. Dwayne Johnson is a genuine movie star. While Zac Efron hasn’t been a big by-himself opener since 17 Again (Nicolas Sparks gets partial credit for The Lucky One), this is the kind of “female gaze” role to which he is best suited in terms of box office bankability.
He seems to do better with an aggressive sparring partner (Neighbors, Dirty Grandpa, etc.) and The Rock certainly applies. Big-screen comedies have been a commercial mixed bag of late, with a Fist Fight for every Bad Moms and a Why Him? for every Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Even Office Christmas Party, which I rather enjoyed, earned $54m domestic and $115m worldwide on a $45m budget. As such, I’m curious to see as to what extent the marketing folks will emphasize the action/adventure aspect.
At the very least, that will set this one apart from the crowd, as (like Central Intelligence) you’re getting a Dwayne Johnson action movie and a Dwayne Johnson comedy as a 2-for-1 deal. And yeah, the IP will help, but if audiences show up it will be because they want to see a Dwayne Johnson/Zac Efron beach-set action comedy, not because the world has been hungering for a Baywatch movie.
For the record, while 21 Jump Street used its source material for comedic effect, it stood on its own as a successful/funny action comedy with an against-type Channing Tatum. That one is obviously the template/high-water mark for this sort of thing, so the question is whether Baywatch can stand on its own and win laughs without relying on the old television show as a crutch.
Of course, you might argue that MacGruber (an overall satire of 80’s action excess) was a successful example of such, but me thinks Paramount wants more than just a $10 million domestic total. Baywatch, starring Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra and Alexandra Daddario, opens Memorial Day weekend against Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. As always, we’ll see.
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Trailer: Dwayne Johnson And Zac Efron’s ‘Baywatch Sells R-Rated Raunch – Forbes