Most people don’t want to see a movie do poorly at the box office. And I’d argue that most people, despite the “wake up, go away” social media rhetoric from a vocal minority, see value in consuming and identifying stories about people who don’t look like them or share their lifestyles. Therefore, it is disappointing when a film, eg BrosIn which underrepresented populations do not succeed.
bros’ A disappointing opening of just $4.8 million — and a string of eyebrow-raising tweets from writer-star Billy Eichner — has sparked a conversation about why the well-reviewed gay rom-com failed, and if audiences should feel compelled to make the trip to theaters. Prove that they want to see inclusivity.
Ekner disappointed with the opening, Heads turned when he tweeted on Sunday, “Straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just don’t show up. Bros.” He followed that up with, “Everyone who isn’t a homophobic freak should watch it. Bros tonight.”
The tweet did not get a good response. Eichner’s tweets feel like finger-wagging after a moralistic confrontation followed by an invitation with little warning, if you compare them to Viola Davis’s more modest request last month. female king: “If you don’t collect money on opening weekend, you’ll never see black women leading a movie again.”
I am sympathetic to the situation. It’s pointless to be passionate about something and not have a willing audience see that passion. However, I think it’s clear from the numbers that the box office didn’t just come down to straight people not going, or homophobia.
Many critics suggested that people were turned off by a line in the trailer that said straight people “had a good run,” although I imagine that no straight person offended by that joke had ever seen the movie anyway. What Eichner is seeing is that a significant population of the LGBTQ community doesn’t even show up. Whether it’s because the film doesn’t appeal to the millennial and Gen Z audiences that drive the box office, or because it opened alongside Paramount’s well-reviewed horror film in October, a smile, Bros A compelling case wasn’t made for a must-see movie in theaters, even though people agreed that there should be more LGBTQ+ rom-coms. But that’s comedy.
While Bros Not featuring any big stars at the box office, the film was produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Nicholas Stoller. The former set the standard for comedy in the 2000s Anchorman (2004), A 40-year-old virgin (2005), very bad (2007), Brides (2011), and the latter also directed comedy hits Forgetting Sara Marshall (2008) and the neighborhood (2014).
It’s easy to understand why Universal, and Eichner, best known for his roles on television, might have expected an opening similar to Apatow’s R-rated rom-com. train wreck, starring Amy Schumer, another love ’em or leave ’em style comedian with a big personality and reputation for television. That film opened to $30 million in 2015. But it’s not 2015 anymore, and comedy has been on a downward trend in terms of actually getting audiences to see it in theaters.
This was abundantly clear when Lionsgate’s Seth Rogen / Charlize Theron led rom-com long shot The underperformance at the box office worried Hollywood studios and pundits about the future of dramatic comedy. If 21st century comedy icons Roseanne and Oscar winner Theron couldn’t sell a movie, what hope did anyone else have? Even so, Long Shot opened to $9.7 million, a figure Universal broke the champagne for, albeit of the cheaper kind. Bros As much as it has been made.
It’s become increasingly clear, even during a pandemic, that comedies often don’t attract large crowds. It’s a depressing reality, but if people are going to see a movie — and yes, still at risk of COVID — they want to go to a spectacle, like Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s recent hit adventure rom-com, the lost city. If audiences are going to be lured into theaters for comedy, they want comedy+, and they can get that from a lot of Marvel movies, some horror movies, shout out, no, barbarian And like blockbusters Top Gun: Maverick.
Like a movie Crazy Rich Asian (2018), which did not succeed at the box office with Asian audiences alone, the Singaporean property onscreen and director John M. The musicality of Chu’s visuals provided an enticing element to viewing. Most comedies and rom-coms, if they’re not high-concept, present themselves as movies that feel like they can wait for streaming.
When Hulu released Clea DuVall’s gay Christmas rom-com, Happy seasonStarring Kristen Stewart, it dominated social media chatter Thanksgiving weekend in 2020. Apatow’s Pete Davidson comedy, King of Staten Island, It was released simultaneously on streaming and in theaters earlier this summer. and most recently, Davidson and Kaley Cuoco’s rom-com meet cute Premiered in Mayur. was Bros Simultaneously premiered on Universal’s Peacock service, along with theaters, it certainly garnered more viewers and thus more social media chatters.
It’s hard to break the notion that a theatrical-only release is the best measure of success. But it’s clear that streaming has become a place where comedy can thrive and where people are easily able to show their support for representation they care about in genres they don’t feel the need to see in theaters.
And if the theatrical experience is important to the film, I think the stars and the filmmakers are Bros Lessons can be learned from the black community, which bought theaters for movies go outside, Black Panther, Queen and Slim and female kingInviting people to watch the film for free and spread the good word.
As someone pointed out to me the other day in a tagged Twitter conversation, running a movie is not altruistic, and audiences have no obligation to see movies to prove their value. But I think moviegoers, and to ensure support for movies that champion inclusivity, could benefit from a more philanthropic way of accessing word of mouth. Whether it’s through streaming or buying showtimes, studios and creators have the opportunity to build a community around films whose success they want to ensure.