‘Bros’ whiffs at box office, and Billy Eichner is characteristically vocal about it

Despite a 91-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 77 score on Metacritic, and an A-grade from ticket buyers through Cinemascore, Universal’s comedy “Bros” positively flopped at the box office, earning a humiliating $4.8 million from a very wide release. 

Most would agree that a combination of factors led to its financial failure. 

Even before the pandemic shook-up moviegoing practices, mass audiences were rarely attending comedies in droves, figuring, rightly or wrongly, that the movie would work just as well on streaming. Those that have hit in recent years—like “Blockers” or “Neighbors” or “Bad Moms”—were summer releases. (The vibe shifts once school starts!) 

Then there was the bad weather from Hurricane Ian in many major markets. It was just not a fun weekend to leave the house if you didn’t have to do so. 

But Billy Eichner, the film’s lead actor and co-writer (along with director Nicholas Stoller), hit Twitter this weekend, with his take on what went wrong. While reporting back that audiences who did attend had a great time (and all signs point to this being accurate), the rarely self-censoring comedian wrote, “traight 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.”

Earlier, Eichner posted a promo image from the film with the caption “STRAIGHT PEOPLE GO SEE BROS CHALLENGE.”

His charge of homophobia was applauded by some and refuted by others, while some took this as an opportunity merely to poke fun at Eichner for being a sore loser. Some even used his own clips against him. 

In interviews, Eichner has positioned the Judd Apatow-produced “Bros” as a landmark film; the first romantic comedy with an openly LGBTQ+ cast distributed by a major Hollywood studio. Earlier this year, Hulu released “Fire Island,” a Searchlight Pictures movie that probably would have gotten likely scored a theatrical release had Disney not just purchased Fox, sending their release calendar into chaos. Eichner said that his movie was “not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows.” After pushback for that comment, including from “Fire Island” writer and star Joel Kim Booster, Eichner clarified, “I was not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films, I was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood.”

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