It’s fair to say that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s recent comedy ‘Baywatch’ is not among his best received big screen efforts, earning a tepid response from critics, and fairly mediocre box office takings.
However, the raucous reboot of the 1990s TV series has proved to be one of the biggest hits of 2017 in one specific territory: Germany. And this may be down to the presence of David Hasselhoff.
On its home shores, ‘Baywatch’ has been largely written off as a flop, with domestic takings of just under $58 million, and a current total global haul of $159 million. Not great, considering the film cost a reported $69 million to make, and surely a great deal more to promote.
However, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, the German box office is responsible for $16 million of this – reportedly one of the highest amounts an R-rated comedy has ever taken in Germany. On top of which, it has only grown in popularity since its release, moving up the charts in its fifth week.
The Rock may be nicknamed ‘Franchise Viagra,’ but in this case it may be The Hoff (star of the original series, who cameos in the movie) who really brought ‘Baywatch’ to the height of its powers.
Studio Paramount certainly seem to think so, as their president of international distribution Mark Viane tells THR, “Germany is our top market. The movie has also done great in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland and in Austria.
“When David Hasselhoff shows up, people pay attention. And Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest stars in the world. When a comedy crosses $100 million internationally amid all these summer action movies, it has a voice of its own.”
David Hasselhoff has long been known for his popularity in Germany, as much for his music as his acting. Famously, he performed ‘Looking for Freedom,’ a number one hit in Germany and Austria, on the Berlin Wall the night that it was ripped down.
‘Baywatch’ has proved a bigger hit in Germany than ‘Transformers: The Last Knight,’ ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ – although the country’s highest-grossing film of the year to date is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2,’ which made $30 million.
Johnson took to Instagram this weekend to personally thank the German audience.
Co-starring Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario, ‘Baywatch’ is in cinemas now.