The box office results for Bros haven’t been stellar, despite the fact that audiences and critics are mostly raving about the film. Some of the theories surrounding the box office failure of Bros include the fact that this is an R-rated rom-com, and that it features an all-LGBTQ+ principal cast.
Some critics of Bros within the LGBTQ+ community also point to the fact that the main couple in the film is composed of two white gay cis men. However, that criticism largely ignores every single other working actor that was featured in this all-LGBTQ+ cast.
In a recent Twitter thread, comedian Guy Branum broke down these many factors in a series of tweets. The Bros star wrote:
“In talking about how cruelly Billy Eichner, white, cis, rich, hot- or not-hot-enough-to-be-a-movie-star (depending on who’s tweeting) demanded the queer community support his movie, a thing that is rarely mentioned is the rest of the cast. When Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow gave Billy the chance to write and star in a film, they were working from an established game plan Judd had used to help build the careers of Amy Schumer, Kumail Nanjiani, Seth Rogen, and others.”
Branum pointed out how Eichner had access to do whatever he wanted with this platform, but still chose to open doors for other members of the LGBTQ+ community when given that power. Branum wrote:
“Because of discrimination, there aren’t many LGBTQ+ actors with box office draw. In casting the romantic lead of the movie, he could have asked Chris Evans, but instead he went with a guy who came out in 2008 and got stuck making Hallmark movies for 20 years, Luke Macfarlane. And yes, Luke is white and masc and cis and hot, but the gay male community has spent so much time fetishizing these things that half of Queerty’s articles are just lists of torsos. Billy knew he had to draw attention to make $, and Luke is a gifted actor who draws attention.”
From a financial standpoint, it was risky for Eichner, Bros, Universal Pictures, and Hollywood as a whole to make a mainstream rom-com featuring an all-LGBTQ+ cast of actors who weren’t as famous or recognizable as other straight actors. Branum argues:
“Billy took a risk convincing the straight guys and corporations to cast queer people without extensive resumes or B.O. draw, like me, in this movie. So when you pat yourself on the back for resisting the tokenizing, condescending marketing for the film... also acknowledge that [Eichner] held the door open for a lot of other, diverse queer people, and this movie doing poorly at the box office limits the opportunities which will be in our future.”
There’s no denying that Branum made a lot of great points in this thread. Besides him, the cast of Bros featured an incredibly diverse cast consisting of actors like Miss Lawrence, Ts Madison, Dot-Marie Jones, Eve Lindley, Jim Rash, Jai Rodriguez, Guillermo Díaz, Monica Raymund, Justin Covington, Ryan Faucett, and Symone, among others.
Though it is tempting to put Bros in a box, there also needs to be a certain acknowledgment of the other casting choices that were made around the two leading actors in the film.
Bros is now out in theaters.