After cheering for Gerard Butler and his abs at the premiere screening of “The Bounty Hunter” Tuesday at the Ziegfeld Theater, guests were ready for cocktails and kobe sliders at the Tao midtown after-party.

For director, Andy Tennant casting Butler and Jennifer Aniston in the pic took just a few minutes.

“I was brought onto the project by Neal Moritz and then (Columbia) said, ‘Jennifer and Gerry were seen in Toronto together. They’re hot. They would make a good onscreen couple.’ ”

Helmer, who then told the studio that he knew Aniston, was encouraged to meet with the actress and Butler.

“The three of us had dinner and we talked about (“The Bounty Hunter”) for maybe all of five minutes and then we just laughed and told stories. I think at the end of the night we realized we had a good script and we could have a really good time together. So we thought let’s go to New York and have some fun.”

While “shutting down highways, dealing with the paparazzi and moving to new locations everyday” proved difficult while shooting the romantic comedy/action pic, helmer said that the film’s $50 million budget was one of the toughest parts of filming.

“Fifty million dollars is nothing to sneeze at,” he said. “But I had $25 million dollars less than I did when I made ‘Hitch’ and this film had a lot more logistical problems than ‘Hitch,’ so I think the budget crunch and the new economy made making this one a little trickier.”