Billy EichnerThe Universal-backed comedy “Broos” failed at the box office during its opening weekend with a $4.8 million bow, about half the $8 to $10 million the studio had expected. Eichner, IN Tweet is now spreading fastalleged that straight people who didn’t turn up in the LGBTQ comedy were the driving force behind “Bros'” poor performance.
“Even with great reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, A CinemaScore, etc., straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, didn’t appear in the Bros,” Eichner wrote. “This is disappointing but it is what it is.”
Eichner is certainly correct that some straight moviegoers weren’t interested in the material, while it’s also possible that homophobia appears around two men who fall in love. During a recent trip to a compound in Georgia, for example, this writer saw a group of openly homophobic men by mocking a “Bros” poster for showing a man putting his hand on another man’s ass. However, “The Bros”‘s $4.8 million opening is so low that it also means that many LGBTQ viewers didn’t turn up to see the comedy in theaters either. So why disappoint the “Brothers”?
The star power was not there.
As mentioned above, the official poster for “Bros” appears on the back of two men. why? Because lead co-stars Billy Eichner and Luke MacFarlane aren’t charting the box office at this point in their careers. After emerging from the pandemic, the star power is more integrated to succeed in opening an original title that isn’t a superhero or horror movie, the two genres that have been the most consistent at the box office (see the $22 million opening for “Smile” over the course of the weekend). “Bullet Train” opened at $30 million with Brad Pitt front and center, while Viola Davis’ “The Woman King” opened at $19 million. Both films also have static pieces to draw viewers in, something that “Bros” lacks as a comedy, which just means he needs more star power.
For the romantic comedy genre, star power is an integral part these days of getting people out of the house. Paramount’s “Lost City” grossed $105 million in the US thanks to the power of the pairing between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum (it had adventurous elements in its plot and Brad Pitt’s cameo didn’t hurt), while George Clooney-Julia Roberts rom-com made Ticket to Paradise” has been a huge success overseas, grossing $45 million ahead of its launch in the United States later this month. Without star power, rom-com seems better off taking the streaming route than the theatrical one.
Marketing prioritized the importance of film over film comedy.
When “Bros” was announced at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film’s press release called it “one of the first romantic comedies from a major studio to feature almost the entire 2SLGBTQIA+ crew.” TV commercials for “Bros” prioritized a subtractive quote describing the film as “as funny as it is historical.” The point here is that the marketing of “Bros” has taken the extra time to sell off its importance as the first major LGBTQ studio comedy, but aggressively marketing a movie as Breaking a Glass Ceiling can make it seem like homework to viewers. Many box office critics agree that Universal bowed too much to the movie’s significance rather than marketing some of the movie’s comedic segments in order to make it clear that it’s actually a very funny comedy. The film’s director of popular comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Neighbors” has rarely been spotlighted by marketing, after all.
Marvel is able to promote superhero movies like “Black Panther” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” as the first comic book movies led by a black and Asian superhero, respectively, without much negative reaction at the box office given that These are new entries in the world’s most successful movie series (and the first time these popular comic book characters have led their own movies). Warner Bros. promoted. of the significance of “Crazy Rich Asians” in 2018, but she already had an inner awareness by being based on a bestselling book. The film also opened judiciously in August so it could slowly show up at the box office and dominate the hype during a slower theatrical month.
While inclusivity and breaking the glass ceiling are two important factors worth celebrating and can spark interest in the film, they cannot be the only focal point of the film’s marketing. Just look at what happened to Warner Bros. “In the Heights”, who did not promote his story or characters and instead went entirely into the movie being a game-changer for representing Latinx on the big screen. The movie In the Heights bombed with an opening of $11.4 million, although it was also available to stream on HBO Max at the same time (streaming numbers were low as well).
Jo Coy’s August comedy “Easter” also appears to promote the historical nature of a film that represents Filipino society to laughs that would bring all moviegoers. This movie bombed too, grossing just over $13 million worldwide on a $17 million budget.
October is not the beginning of rom-coms.
According to Box Office Mojo, only four of the top 100 rom-coms launched in October, and they aren’t titans of this type: Bo Derek’s 1979 vehicle “10” ranked 48th; Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel’s 2010 film “Life As We Know It” ranked 84th; Featherweight for John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale “Serenity” at 91; The witch’s tale “Practical Magic” landed at number 100. The rom-coms obviously don’t fly high this time of year, and while they’re sneaking inside to be released on the last day of September, Halloween fever has overtaken pop culture. Already.
After all, the two most obvious genres of scheduled movies have historically been rom-coms and horror, and given the over-performance of “Smile,” consumers clearly wanted to keep their dates tight out of fear rather than love.
A smarter move would have been to drop it during a quieter week in September, like Week 9, where the only competition was pre-scary horror movie “Barbarian” and Bollywood superhero movie “Brahmastra Part One: Shiva.” By the September 30 release date, the means were Social media has already been inundated with #Halloween content, so why fight the inevitable?
Consumers are distracted by the powerful streaming releases.
The week that “Bros” was released also saw the debut of two blockbuster movies on live streaming: the eagerly awaited Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde” on Netflix, and the scary family comedy “Hocus Pocus 2” on Disney+. Eichner fans who are full of Hollywood savvy will likely be tempted to stay home and watch any of these titles. Combined with the latest installment of Netflix’s hit series “Dahmer” — plus a torrent of seasonally appropriate horror available at the tap of a button — “Bros” is likely to be steeped in the power of choice.
Did ‘the bubble’ distort Judd Apatow?
Due to the film’s lack of star power, several promotional materials cited “Bro’s” Apatow’s product as a major selling point. But his April release “The Bubble,” a painfully unfunny take on Netflix’s COVID culture, has low numbers on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB from fans and critics alike. Could the super producer’s Midas Touch be dwindling after his latest movie failed to show?