Billy Eichner took to Twitter this weekend to share his thoughts on the disappointing reception his gay rom-com Bros received at the nation’s cinemas.
“Even with glowing reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, an A CinemaScore etc,,” tweeted the film’s star, producer and co-writer, “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.”
Based on enthusiastic critical reaction at the Toronto International Film Festival, and robust social media attention, Universal Pictures had expected Bros – which is the first gay romantic comedy with a mostly LGBTQ cast to be given a wide release by a major studio — to open in the range of $8-10 million.
But playing in 3,350 locations this weekend, the film took in just $4.8 million, placing fourth at the box office after the horror film Smile, the second week of the thriller Don’t Worry Darling, and the third week of historical epic Woman King.
Although Bros was produced for a comparatively modest $22 million, Universal spent another $30 million on advertising and promotion, so the film will likely struggle to reach profitability.
Those who saw the comedy this weekend, made it clear they enjoyed it. Eichner tweeted of watching from “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.”
Indeed, with a 91% positive ranking from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 92% positive from audiences, Bros played well in big cities, with its best numbers coming from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It did less well elsewhere though, especially in the South.
Eichner hinted at broader acceptance issues, tweeting that at one point a theater chain had “called Universal and said they were pulling the trailer because of the gay content. (Uni convinced them not to).”
“That’s just the world we live in, unfortunately,” the star continued, urging his followers to push past their disappointment and enjoy themselves.
“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.”