Billy Eichner's gay romantic-comedy
Bros had a disappointing opening weekend at the box office.
The film, credited for being the first
gay romantic comedy produced by a major Hollywood studio, brought in
just $4.8 million, about half of what the movie was expected to
The film has been widely praised by
critics and audiences, leaving Eichner to blame straight people for
the low numbers.
“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,” Eichner tweeted. “And that's disappointing but it
is what it is.”
The film stars Eichner (Billy on the
Street) and Luke Macfarlane (Brothers
& Sisters) as two gay men with commitment issues who
try to navigate a possible relationship.
Bros breaks ground on several
major fronts. It is the first gay male rom-com from a major studio
and the first studio film to feature an entirely LGBTQ principal
cast. Eichner is also the first out gay man to write, produce, and
star in a major Hollywood movie.
In a story published Monday, Variety
blamed lack of star power and flat marketing for the film's shaky
“Bros marketing worked
overtime to sell its importance as the first major LGBTQ studio
comedy, but aggressively marketing a movie as a glass-ceiling breaker
can make it feel like homework for viewers,” the outlet opined.
Speaking with LGBTQ glossy The
Advocate, Stephen R. Greenwald, a film industry executive and
former CEO of DeLaurentis Entertainment, suggested that audiences
were not as eager to watch romantic comedies in theaters as they were
to watch action films.
“The economics of the business are
changing, and at the end of the day it’s all about the money,”
Greenwald said. “As I wrote about in the next issue of my book
(This Business of Film), what you’re going to see eventually
happening is that some non-action films go straight to streaming,
while others might get simultaneous streaming and limited theatrical
runs, for a week or two, to create some buzz for it on streaming.”
“In the case of Bros, what
might have been a better strategy, would be to briefly release it in
the markets it did well in, like New York, L.A., and Chicago, while
at the same time making it available on Netflix. But sooner or later,
Bros will go the streaming route, and my hunch is that it will
do quite well there because the audience is already there and
presumably waiting for it to drop there,” he said.