"Bros" Was a Funny and Solid Rom-Com but Billy Eichner is Wrong About Why It Flopped at the Box Office
Last night I did something that only a small number of people in this country have; I saw Bros in theaters.
I saw all the news yesterday about its box office numbers and wanted to see the movie before I give my two cents.
Everybody knows Ole Dozo is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. I've been blogging my support since the beginning of DOL in 2016. I call out my friends that still say f@g. It's been an open secret in my circle for years that I don't hate T porn (a trans woman fucking a cis woman is like lesbian porn on steroids). I think it's super fucked up that it's more difficult for queer couples to adopt when kids are stuck in the system; I don't need to go down this path right now, we know I'm a hashtag good guy. I'll get off the soapbox. We're here to talk about a Rom-Com that flopped.
Bros did not do too well in its opening weekend. I've seen many numbers ranging from 4 to 10 million at the box office. Either way, those numbers stink, and understandably the film's leading man and writer, Billy Eichner, didn't love that. As a creator, I get it. I've written hundreds of great blogs that didn't get the respect they deserve because I'm too niche and unknown. If I had cards to play, I'd use them, so again, understandably, Eichner is blaming homophobia for Bros underwhelming performance.
I mean, he's not entirely wrong; there are certainly pockets of this country that will never see this movie because it's about gay love. He's definitely behind the eight-ball in that spot. Despite miles of progress during my lifetime, there's still tons of hate towards the queer community, BUTTTTT, it can also be true that the movie-going experience and what sells in this country have radically shifted as well.
In middle and high school, going to the movies with friends happened almost every weekend. I have hundreds of ticket stubs saved from those classics (and some flops too). When I was growing up, there were blockbuster comedies every month. The 2000s were a golden era of hilarity. Changing tastes, limitless streaming options, studios only making superhero movies, and many other factors have altered how people view content. "Cancel culture" and the internet have certainly affected the comedy industry, but it's not the only reason. I could list 25 great comedies that came out before I graduated high school (2010) without blinking an eye, but in the last decade plus, there have been far fewer. I love movies like Horrible Bosses and Bridesmaids that came out while I was in college, but in the last decade, other than Game Night, I have a hard time recalling a great comedy I saw in theaters. Studios just aren't making them anymore.
Studios want to make money, and they know there's a greater risk of a 95-minute comedy flopping than some three-hour nerd fest superhero bull shit. They're not my swag, but those are what sell. You don't need to see a comedy on the big screen. In fact, it's usually better on your couch with some friends and maybe a little reefer. Nowadays, the big screen is for action and special effects.
The following tweets give fair reasons why Bros did not perform well at the box office:
It would be lazy and homophobic to say that gay people don't like sports because that's simply untrue. There are tons of gay sports fans, buuuuut I don't think Billy Eichner would call himself one. That played a role in this flop as well. It's October, bro. If you're not getting dragged to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, or apple orchard, you're probably watching baseball, college football, or the NFL (if not all three) on weekend nights. Billy, you're not just competing against the other movies in theaters right now (other than Smile I couldn't name another one...I guess Avatar 2 since I accidentally saw a few blurry minutes of that, but that's it). Just because someone would rather watch Bills-Ravens on a Sunday afternoon doesn't mean they don't think two men or two women should be barred from marriage.
Maybe this is cliche too, but again it's October. Had this movie been released during Pride Month (June), I'm sure that would've boosted numbies too. For the most part, if you're going to the movies in October, it's likely some seasonal scary shit. I don't have the data in front of me, but I know I saw the Hangover, Pineapple Express, and Bruno in the summer.
Speaking of, Bruno made 138.8 million dollars, according to Wikipedia. It was a gay comedy that starred an actual star in Sasha Baron Cohen. I respect Eichner's decision to have an all-queer cast in Bros, but it came at the cost of star power. Jai Rodriguez from the OG Queer Eye and the football coach from Glee were arguably the most famous people in the movie outside of Eichner (besides a Debra Messing cameo; s/o Rhode Island). Plus, you're Billy Eichner. I loved you as Craig Middlebrooks, and Billy on the Street is funny, but are you a leading man? There's a reason She's Out of My League is Jay Baruchel's only leading role.
Look, Billy, I get your disappointment; I honestly do. I agree that just because something isn't commercially successful doesn't mean it's not good. Tons of great music gets no love, while trash wins awards and gets the streams. Big Bang Theory ran for 12 seasons, while Nathan For You was only on for four. I'll even give you that homophobia deserves a piece of the blame pie, but all the reasons I just listed and others I probably forgot because I'm trying to improve my writing time deserve a slice as well.
Bros was funny. I was one of three people in the audience last night, and I laughed out loud multiple times, but the way people consume media has changed, and this movie had little to no star power. No doubt people wrote this movie off solely for being a queer movie, but that's a lazy excuse. I wouldn't be shocked to see Bros in the Netflix Top 10 in eight months, but an October release with essentially no star power didn't do you any favors. I'm a woke pussy fascism-hating lib as well, but like MJ said, Republicans buy sneakers too. The ultimatum marketing probably didn't help. All that being said, see Bros, so the homophobes celebrating its failure don't win. It's cute and funny. I'm not a gay dude, but Billy's love interest in the movie is objectively hot. I'll end with this, I agree with this tweet. It's unfair to put the future on an entire sub-genre on Billy Eichner's hairy shoulders.