Niche genres inspire niche audiences, and after opening as a massive flop in over 3,000 theaters, the “historic” rom-com “Bros” may set the record straight on what content the American audience is clamoring for.
If you consume any kind of media, whether it be television, radio or internet, there is a high probability that you heard or saw an advertisement for co-writer and star Billy Eichner’s new film “Bros,” and you probably saw them a lot. Despite a mass marketing campaign, distribution in 3,350 theaters nationwide, and boasting of being the first gay rom-com with a cast completely comprised of openly LGBTQ stars, the film was unable to draw audiences.
Reportedly costing roughly $22 million to make, “Bros” came in fourth at the box office behind “Smile,” “Don’t Worry Darling” and “The Woman King” while barely eking ahead of the re-release of “Avatar” with a total of $4.8 million.
— Boxoffice Pro (@BoxOffice) October 2, 2022
Including Thursday previews earning around $500,00 and a combined total of $2.5 million between Saturday and Sunday, the film had its best day of its abysmal weekend on Friday, where it brought in $1.84 million.
Eichner attempted to inspire audiences to go see the film by recounting his experience at a theater in Los Angeles and boasting of the rave reviews from major outlets on social media.
“Last night I snuck in and sat in the back of a sold out theater playing BROS in LA. The audience howled with laughter start to finish, burst into applause at the end, and some were wiping away tears as they walked out. It was truly magical. Really. I am VERY proud of this movie,” he claimed, before adding, “Rolling Stone already has BROS on the list of the best comedies of the 21st century. What’s also true is that at one point a theater chain called Universal and said they were pulling the trailer because of the gay content. (Uni convinced them not to). America, f*ck yeah, etc. etc.”
Rolling Stone already has BROS on the list of the best comedies of the 21st century. What’s also true is that at one point a theater chain called Universal and said they were pulling the trailer because of the gay content. (Uni convinced them not to). America, fuck yeah, etc etc.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 2, 2022
However, the actor went on to insinuate that homophobia could be the source of reluctance for moviegoers as he touted the “uniquely powerful” film that he noted would resonate most with “queer folks.”
“That’s just the world we live in, unfortunately. Even with glowing reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, an A CinemaScore etc, straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn’t show up for Bros. And that’s disappointing but it is what it is,” Eichner admitted. “Everyone who ISN’T a homophobic weirdo should go see BROS tonight! You will have a blast! And it *is* special and uniquely powerful to see this particular story on a big screen, esp for queer folks who don’t get this opportunity often. I love this movie so much. GO BROS!!!”
Everyone who ISN’T a homophobic weirdo should go see BROS tonight! You will have a blast! And it *is* special and uniquely powerful to see this particular story on a big screen, esp for queer folks who don’t get this opportunity often. I love this movie so much. GO BROS!!! ❤️🌈
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 2, 2022
The select draw was not overlooked by the actor as he had admittedly stated to mark the release of the film “LGBTQ folks, I hope you love it. I made it for you.”
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! STRAIGHT PEOPLE LISTEN UP!!! TODAY IS THE DAY!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!! GO BROS!!! pic.twitter.com/5OeTY5urPC
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) September 30, 2022
However, not unnoticed was the wild success of previous gay-centered stories marketed to mass audiences like the 1996 hit “The Birdcage” which opened in less than 2,000 theaters and made $124 million in American theaters (nearly $250 million when adjusted for inflation) and the sitcom “Will & Grace” which ran for eight consecutive seasons before returning for three more after a more than ten-year hiatus.
Meanwhile, “Top Gun: Maverick” has remained in theaters for 19 weeks, a month after DVD releases, and still cracked the box office top ten with $1.16 million over the weekend, thus far grossing over $713 million domestically and nearly $1.5 billion globally.
While it may be filled with humor that a wide-ranging audience could appreciate, BlazeTV host Steve Deace may have summed up the reason for the “Bros” lackluster release when he contended, “What this likely tells us is when homosexuality is packaged as witty and charming–like the trailblazing Will and Grace–it can have wide mainstream appeal when done well. But when its depicted graphically and the full Monty with no filter as Bros did, still not happening.”
What this likely tells us is when homosexuality is packaged as witty and charming — like the trailblazing Will and Grace — it can have wide mainstream appeal when done well. But when its depicted graphically and the full Monty with no filter as Bros did, still not happening.
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) October 2, 2022
Time will tell if the assessment is accurate as the producers are set to release another gay rom-com, “Spoiler Alert” in December.
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