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‘Bros’ Box Office: Star Billy Eichner Decries Homophobia After Dismal Opening

Actor Billy Eichner didn’t hold back when he took to Twitter on Sunday to comment on the dismal box office opening of his new comedy, brothers.

The Universal film, which marks the first gay romantic comedy released by a major Hollywood studio, opened to a dismal $4.8 million after doing little business in much of the central and southern United States.

“Everyone who is NOT homophobic should go see BROS tonight! You’ll have so much fun! And it’s special and uniquely powerful to see this particular story on a big screen, especially for queer people who don’t get this opportunity often. I love this movie so much. GO BROTHERS!!!”, Eichner tweeted.

Universal has stayed in the comedy business, even as the genre struggles theatrically and increasingly becomes the realm of streaming. Long-time studio partners include brothers producer Judd Apatow and director and writer Nicholas Stoller, who directed the film.

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The studio was praised for taking on the project and brothers was critically acclaimed upon its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival. It currently boasts a brilliant 95 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences liked it too, giving it an A CinemaScore.

However, the opening was even worse than expected. Heading into the weekend, monitoring had suggested he could earn between $8 million and $10 million.

“Rolling Stone already has BROS on the list of the best comedies of the 21st century,” Eichner said in the same twitter thread. “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 talked them out of it.) United States, fuck yeah, etc., etc.

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brothersThe top 10 markets were all in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He did decent business in several other major cities, including Chicago. Otherwise, it has been a flop so far.

Eichner himself went to a Los Angeles movie theater on Saturday night. “Last night I snuck in and sat in the back of a sold out theater to play BROS in LA. The audience howled with laughter from start to finish, bursting into applause at the end, with some wiping tears as they exited. It was really magical. In fact. I am SO proud of this movie.” tweeted.

brothers marks Eichner’s first leading role in a major studio film. The actor, who broke out with jobs at NBC Parks and Recreation and the game show billy on the streetstars in the film alongside Luc Macfarlane and Harvey Firestone, among others.

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Lately, comedies that have done well at the box office have been endorsed by big stars, like Ryan Reynolds in free boy (20th Century/Disney) or Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in The lost City (Supreme). Comedy has many subgenres, and both movies are also action-adventure.

Universal will quickly follow up with another romantic comedy, ticket to paradise, starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney. The film opens domestically on October 21 after having racked up a solid $45 million overseas.

In terms of raunchier fare, Apatow’s recent career path hints at just how tough the landscape has become for R-rated comedies like brothers. He directed the most recent of him, The bubblefor netflix, though in March he signed an overall deal with Universal, suggesting he’ll return to directing stage comedies.

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Universal’s president of domestic distribution, Jim Orr, declined to comment Sunday on how much of an impact the gay issue had. brothersbut said the studio “was incredibly proud of the film and the filmmakers.”

As for Eichner, he summed up his results this way: “Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. 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.”

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