'Bros': Billy Eichner, Dot-Marie Jones respond to 'disappointing' box office flop amid rave reviews

While we called Bros the best rom-com we’ve seen in at least the last decade (if not longer), the film struggled at the box office opening weekend, with the film's star, co-writer and executive producer, Billy Eichner, saying it’s “disappointing” that straight people in certain areas of the U.S. would not support the movie.

“What’s also true is that at one point a theater chain called Universal and said they were pulling the trailer because of the gay content,” Eichner tweeted out on Sunday. “That’s just the world we live in, unfortunately.”

“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 for Bros. And that’s disappointing but it is what it is. Everyone who isn’t a homophobic weirdo should go see Bros tonight! You will have a blast! And it is special and uniquely powerful to see this particular story on a big screen, [especially] for queer folks who don’t get this opportunity often. I love this movie so much.”

Speaking to Variety at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles at the Best in Drag Show, another one of the film’s stars, Dot-Marie Jones, echoed Eichner’s comments.

“I don’t know if it’s because it’s...LGBTQ,” Jones said. “It’s not contagious — f-ckin’ go see a movie, you know what I mean? It’s crazy.”

Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner in Universal Pictures movie Bros (Courtesy of TIFF)
Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner in Universal Pictures movie Bros (Courtesy of TIFF)

LGBTQ+ history: 'There's so much erasure'

In Bros, Billy Eichner plays Bobby Leiber, a sarcastic New York podcaster. Bobby is also trying to open the first LGBTQ+ history museum in the city, alongside his board, which includes characters played by Jim Rash, Dot-Marie Jones, Miss Lawrence, TS Madison and Eve Lindley.

Bobby is completely unimpressed with the online dating scene and dating app hookups, but when he goes to a club and meets Aaron (played by London, Ont., born Luke Macfarlane), who’s from a small town and is now a lawyer that manages wills and estates, Bobby's romantic life starts to change.

Attention to detail is definitely present in Bros, including several of the production design elements. To build the LGBTQ+ history museum for the film, for example, production designer Lisa Myers worked to pick out a representative group of people in history to feature, and even had real, historically accurate information about them in the film.

“It was a very collaborative environment in the sense that they were super open to ideas,...my initial lists are hundreds of people…and we kind of narrowed it down to feel like we had an interesting group of historical figures that stretched a broad scope and represented a lot of different people,” Myers told Yahoo Canada. “What I came up against a lot [were] clearance issues,...it's hard to find, sometimes, specifically accurate research or record keeping about queer people throughout history, there's so much erasure there.”

“We wrote all of the blurbs specifically, so if you like zoomed in while you're watching the movie, all the blurbs are actually accurate information about the historical figures. But we also needed images, and images were really hard to come by.”

Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx 2022 9/20/22 Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner at the premiere of Universal Pictures's
Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx 2022 9/20/22 Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner at the premiere of Universal Pictures's "Bros" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on September 20, 2022 in New York.

'I want this film to succeed on every every level possible'

Making history as the first gay romantic comedy from a major movie studio, with Universal Pictures, everyone involved in the production was very committed to making this film fantastic, and they very much succeeded.

“I won't take a project unless I know I'm going to be super invested, and that was absolutely equal enthusiasm, if not more, coming from everyone involved,” Lisa Myers said. “We all wanted to do the community right and be super representative, and inclusive.”

“As a member of the queer community, I know Billy felt this as well, I just really wanted to represent well. My biggest thing was like, 'Oh my gosh, I’ve got to knock this out of the park, I've got to really represent the community well and show a lot of different people, and just make it a beautiful film to look at, because I want this film to succeed on every every level possible.'”

Jim Rash, who famously played Dean Pelton in Community and won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants in 2012, also stressed how much he loved being part of this film.

“To be a part of a movie that is something that we didn't grow up with,...that we can see all this representation on the screen and then just be a funny movie, I think that's what's so beautiful about this love story,” Rash told Yahoo Canada during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September. “When you gather to make someone's movie, a screenplay that they've toiled with and then to know so much of it is pulled from Billy and what he wants to say with this movie, you rally behind that person.”

No matter what the box office numbers say, Bros is a beautifully hysterical film that everyone should see, and we hope more people go to the theatre to experience how great this rom-com- really is.