Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane in Bros

Billy Eichner Said Straight People "Didn’t Show Up" For Bros

The film had a disappointing opening weekend at the box office.

Universal Pictures

Billy Eichner is sticking up for his Bros after the romantic comedy failed to perform at the box office its opening weekend. Touted as the first gay rom-com from a major studio, Bros was under a lot of pressure to prove that LGBTQ+ love stories can succeed with a wide theatrical release, but unfortunately, the initial numbers weren’t as high as expected. In a series of tweets about Bros’s disappointing box office numbers, Eichner blamed the “straight people ... [who] didn’t show up” for the movie.

Boasting an entirely LGBTQ+ cast of principal actors and a ton of rave reviews, Bros made history when it premiered in theaters nationwide on Sept. 30, but the box office didn’t reflect the monumental moment. The rom-com only managed to rake in $4.8 million its opening weekend, about half of what Universal projected it would make. The disappointing opening prompted Eichner to share some of the struggles he experienced in trying to reach a wider audience with Bros, revealing in an Oct. 2 Twitter thread that a theater chain tried to pull the movie’s trailer “because of the gay content.”

Eichner went on to imply the low box office numbers were the result of “straight people, especially in certain parts of the country,” not showing up for the movie. “That’s disappointing but it is what it is,” he wrote.

Eichner’s disappointment is understandable, given how drastically Bros underperformed when compared to past rom-com successes produced by hitmaker Judd Apatow. His 2015 Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck netted over $30 million its opening weekend, around the same opening box office numbers other Apatowian rom-coms like Bridesmaids and Knocked Up received.

Eichner had also heavily promoted the film in press and on social media, in particular encouraging straight people to buy tickets. He and various outlets heralded Bros often as the first big-studio gay rom-com, although those waters are a bit murky. Back in 2018, 20th Century Fox’s Love, Simon was similarly billed as the first gay rom-com produced by a major studio, but unlike Bros, it starred a straight actor in the lead role. On Love, Simon’s tail, the rise of streaming has produced several LGBTQ+ romantic comedies over the past few years, with buzzy standouts including Hulu’s Happiest Season, Netflix’s Single All The Way, and Paramount+’s Three Months. Most notably, Hulu’s Fire Island also boasted an entirely LGBTQ+ ensemble cast and was released months before Bros — but it’s debatable whether these streaming services qualify as “major studios” on par with Universal.

Hopefully, Bros’ sour box office opening could turn into a sweet opportunity encouraging more people to check out the movie in theaters. Either way, Bros still did something monumental by bringing a major LGBTQ+ comedy to big screens across the globe.