Baywatch (film)

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Baywatch poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySeth Gordon
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onBaywatch
by Michael Berk
Douglas Schwartz
Gregory J. Bonann
Produced by
CinematographyEric Steelberg
Edited byPeter S. Elliot
Music byChristopher Lennertz
Distributed byParamount Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • May 13, 2017 (2017-05-13) (Miami)
  • May 25, 2017 (2017-05-25) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes[4]
CountryUnited States
Budget$65–69 million[5][4]
Box office$177.9 million[4]

Baywatch is a 2017 American action comedy film based on the television series created by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, and Gregory J. Bonann. The film was directed by Seth Gordon, written by Mark Swift and Damian Shannon (from a story by Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Thomas Lennon, and Robert Ben Garant), and stars Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron with Jon Bass, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Priyanka Chopra and David Hasselhoff in supporting roles. The story follows lifeguard Mitch Buchannon and his team who must take down a drug lord in an effort to save their beach.

Principal photography began on February 22, 2016, in Florida and Savannah, Georgia. The film was released in the United States on May 25, 2017, by Paramount Pictures, grossed $177 million worldwide and received negative reviews from critics, with criticism for its crude humor, storyline and character development, though Johnson's performance received some praise.[6][7] Baywatch received five nominations at the 38th Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Actor for Efron.[8]


In Emerald Bay, Florida, Lt. Mitch Buchannon and his team of lifeguards, including second-in-command Stephanie Holden and veteran C.J. Parker, protect the beaches and the bay as part of an elite division known as Baywatch. Having made over 500 rescues in his career, Mitch is beloved by the community, to the annoyance of local beat cop Garner Ellerbee and Mitch's superior, Captain Thorpe. During one of his morning patrols, Mitch finds a small pouch of flakka drug washed up near the Huntley Club, which is now under the ownership of businesswoman Victoria Leeds, who has been secretly bribing city councilman Rodriguez and others in efforts to increase her stake in the bay.

Mitch later meets Olympian Matt Brody who, thinking his Olympic position entitles him to be on the team without trying out, says that he is already on the team. He then calls Holden in, and they tease Brody. Mitch later makes Brody beat him on the "big boys'" course. When the course ends, a mom and her kids start drowning, resulting in the lifeguards and Brody rushing to save them, even though Brody isn't a lifeguard yet. When everything's clear, the results of the tryouts are in, and the people who made it are Ronnie Greenbaum, Summer Quinn, and Matt Brody.

When a private yacht catches fire, Brody disobeys orders and dives directly under the flames, causing Holden and C. J. to have to save him. The occupants are evacuated, except for the deceased councilman Rodriguez. Ellerbee disapproves of Mitch's further investigative actions. Mitch and the gang attend a party held by Leeds to investigate about the flakka, but without much luck, as Brody makes a fool of himself getting drunk. Mitch, Brody, and Summer later infiltrate the hospital morgue, where they record two of Leeds' henchmen planting a falsified autopsy report to cover up the fact that Rodriguez was murdered on her orders. Unfortunately, they are discovered, and though Mitch manages to subdue and capture one of them, the recording is destroyed and Ellerbee is forced to release their suspect on a lack of evidence. Angered, Thorpe threatens to fire Mitch if he oversteps his authority again.

Convinced that Leeds is running drugs out of the Huntley, Mitch and Brody go undercover and sneak into the club kitchen, where they witness her workers retrieving the drugs from barrels of fish and processing them. They contact Ellerbee, only to learn that another dead body has been found on the beach. Thorpe, enraged that Mitch essentially deserted his post, fires him and names Brody as the new lieutenant. Brody doesn't want the job, but he is forced to take it. Mitch then takes a job as a salesman at Sprint.

Brody later sees a couple of “sand grifters (beach thieves)" steal bags using a cooler. He tackles the man, ordering him and his female accomplice off the beach, and steals the cooler. After finding another pouch of flakka on the beach, Brody steals the second victim's report from Ellerbee using the cooler and brings it to Summer, who confirms his suspicion that the man was killed by a knife instead of a shark attack. Ronnie, upon recognizing the victim as his friend Dave, helps Brody hack into Leeds' servers, revealing her plan to privatize the entire beach by systematically buying out or eliminating every competing business owner.

The team later infiltrates a private party on Leeds' personal yacht, discovering how she's been using the hull to smuggle the drugs. Brody is captured and placed in a bait cage to be drowned, and a gloating Leeds reveals that she bribed Thorpe to fire Mitch and put Brody for the job before pushing the cage into the water. Just before Brody dies, Summer swims up to him and gives him the kiss of life. However, this turns out to be a hallucination when he regains consciousness and realizes it is actually Mitch resuscitating him. The two catch up to Leeds, while Ronnie and C. J. hack the system and launch fireworks to prevent her escape helicopter from landing. Just as they run out, a wounded Mitch, having intentionally stung himself with a sea urchin to boost his adrenaline, uses a Roman candle to blow Leeds up, saving Brody once again. Ellerbee arrives and takes Leeds' henchmen into custody, apologizing to Mitch for doubting him. Thorpe arrives and begins to berate Mitch for not understanding he's fired and returning to the beach. In response, Brody punches Thorpe in the face. Thorpe is subsequently arrested for his role in Leeds' plan.

In the aftermath, Ronnie and Brody begin relationships with C.J. and Summer respectively. Mitch, having been reinstated, no longer makes Summer, Ronnie, and Brody trainees and introduces them to their new captain, Casey Jean.



A Baywatch movie was first announced in 2004, although the movie became stuck in development hell over the years, with several writers penning drafts.[11] In July 2015, Sean Anders was replaced by Seth Gordon as director.[12][13] On October 2, 2014, Dwayne Johnson was attached to star in the lead role, and Justin Malen was set to rewrite the script.[14] Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the latest draft, and the film would be comedic in style.[12] On August 10, 2015, Zac Efron signed on to star in the film, and Beau Flynn and Ivan Reitman joined to produce with Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions.[15][16] On November 9, 2015, Deadline reported that seven actresses were among the short list testing for the lead female role, Alexandra Daddario, Ashley Benson, Nina Dobrev, Alexandra Shipp, Shelley Hennig, Bianca A. Santos, and Denyse Tontz.[17] On November 18, 2015, Johnson confirmed Daddario would play Summer, a lifeguard, and the love interest of Efron's character.[18][19]

On January 4, 2016, Kelly Rohrbach's casting as C. J. Parker was confirmed by Johnson's Instagram post.[20] Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the screenplay, while the final list of producers were Johnson along with his partner Dany Garcia, through their Seven Bucks Productions, as well as Flynn, Reitman, Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, and Gregory J. Bonann.[20] On January 20, 2016, Johnson again posted on his Instagram about casting Ilfenesh Hadera as Johnson's love interest.[21] On January 27, 2016, Jon Bass was cast in the film to play Ronnie, a funny, awkward, and skilled disco dancer at the beach, who falls in love with Parker.[22] On February 12, 2016, Hannibal Buress joined the cast of the film to play a bay community local.[23] On February 17, 2016, Priyanka Chopra signed on to star as the antagonist in the film.[24] The role was originally written for a male. In March 2016, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II joined the cast as Ellerbee, a police officer who is constantly reminding Mitch that he has no real authority over the bay.[25] Jack Kesy and Amin Joseph were also cast in the film.[26] Vine (later YouTube) star Logan Paul announced that he is in the film, but his scenes were later cut.[27][28][29][30] Izabel Goulart also appeared.[31] NFL players Vernon Davis and Arian Foster also have cameo appearances in the film.[32][33]


Principal photography on the film began on February 22, 2016, in Deerfield Beach, Florida, with the setting in Broward County, Florida, while the TV series was set in Malibu, California.[34] The film was shot in Miami and Savannah, Georgia.[23][35][36] In late March 2016, filming started in Tybee Island, Georgia.[37] Filming wrapped on May 18, 2016.[5]


In January 2016, Paramount Pictures scheduled Baywatch for a May 19, 2017 release, which was originally scheduled for a sequel to Terminator Genisys.[38] In December 2016, Paramount pushed the release date back one week to May 26, 2017, to avoid competition with Alien: Covenant.[39] In April 2017, the film was moved one day earlier, to avoid direct competition with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.[40]


Box office[edit]

Baywatch grossed $58.1 million in the United States and Canada and $119.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $177.8 million, against a production budget of $69 million.[4]

In the United States and Canada, the film was initially projected to gross around $40 million from 3,642 theaters over its five-day opening weekend, with the studio predicting a more conservative $30 million debut.[41][42] It made $1.25 million at 2,554 theaters from Wednesday night previews, similar to fellow mid-week R-rated releases We're the Millers ($1.7 million) and Let's Be Cops ($1.2 million).[43] However, after making $4.6 million on its opening day (including Wednesday night previews) and $5.7 million on Friday, five-day projections were lowered to $25 million. It ended up grossing $18.5 million in its opening weekend (for a five-day total of $27.7 million), finishing third at the box office, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ($63 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($20.9 million).[7][44] In its second weekend the film grossed $8.8 million (a drop of 52.5%), finishing 5th at the box office.[45]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 241 reviews, and an average rating of 4.04/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Baywatch takes its source material's jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original's campy charm – and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows."[46] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[47] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 76% overall positive score.[48][7] Dwayne Johnson responded to critics' reviews, saying that the film was made for fans and that they loved it.[49][6]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers praised the "easy rapport" of Johnson and Efron while saying, "what [the film] needs more is a functional script". Travers rated it two out of four stars and said, "Think of yourself sitting down for a big two-hour wallow in instant stupid with a vat of popcorn, slathered in fake butter and possibly a mound of melted M&Ms on top. It feels great chugging it down, then your stomach hurts, your head aches and you puke the whole thing up so you can forget about it in the morning. That's Baywatch in a nutshell."[50] Owen Gleiberman of Variety called it "stupidly entertaining... for a while" but was critical of the plot.[51] Brian Truitt of USA Today gave the film two out of four stars, and said that while the film has all the elements you would expect "the remake yearns to be both sendup farce and straight action film, tripping along the way and failing to grasp either."[52] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, writing: "As was the case with CHiPS, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Beverly Hillbillies, Car 54, Where Are You? and I'll just stop there, when you make films from junk TV, more often than not you're going to wind up with a junk movie."[53]

Home media[edit]

Baywatch was released on Digital HD on August 15, 2017[54] and on Blu-ray and DVD on August 29, 2017.[55]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Comedy Actor Dwayne Johnson Nominated [56]
Zac Efron Won
Choice Movie: Comedy Actress Alexandra Daddario Nominated
Choice Movie: Villain Priyanka Chopra Nominated
Choice Movie: Ship Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards Best T&A of the Year Alexandra Daddario Won
2018 38th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Picture Michael Berk, Gregory J. Bonann, Beau Flynn, Ivan Reitman, Douglas Schwartz Nominated [8]
Worst Screenplay Damian Shannon, Mark Swift, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant Nominated
Worst Actor Zac Efron Nominated
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel Nominated
The Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It Won

Potential sequel[edit]

In May 2017, producer Beau Flynn revealed plans for a sequel were in development, with the project's story already written. Damian Shannon and Mark Swift were stated to be returning to their roles as co-screenwriters, while the plot would revolve around the titular team's adventures in traveling to a different environment overseas. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron entered early negotiations to reprise their roles, while the remaining cast were expected to also return in the potential sequel.[57]


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External links[edit]