After months of fanfare, Billy Eichner’s Bros, the first gay romantic comedy released by a major Hollywood studio, opened in theaters over the weekend. The film, which follows two noncommittal 40-somethings who (surprise!) fall for each other, was hailed as a critical success, with Rolling Stone ranking it on its list of the 70 greatest comedies of the 21st century. Its box-office performance, however, was less than stellar. “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,” Eichner wrote in a Twitter thread Sunday, addressing the film’s underwhelming debut. “And that’s disappointing but it is what it is.”
Co-written by Eichner, the host of the series Billy on the Street, with the film’s director, Nicholas Stoller, the Universal production reportedly cost $22 million to make and raked in just $4.8 million over the weekend with especially poor turnout in swaths of Middle America and the South; it made just $1.8 million on its opening night. On Sunday, Eichner, who has been heavily involved in Bros’ promotion (he even marketed it during a guest appearance on The Bachelorette’s “Men Tell All” episode, in which he helped pour meatball sauce on a contestant) said he was “VERY proud of the movie.” He also spoke to the homophobic pushback it received during its promotional stages, including when a theater chain allegedly threatened to pull the trailer “because of gay content,” which Eichner said Universal convinced it not to do.
Eichner ended his thread with this missive: “Everyone who ISN’T a homophobic weirdo should go see BROS tonight! You will have a blast!” he wrote. “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. I love this movie so much. GO BROS!” Here’s hoping the non-homophobic weirdos turn out, one and all.