Historic Gay Rom-Com or Force-Feeding ‘Cultural Vegetables’? Why Billy Eichner’s ‘Bros’ Has Divided the LGBTQ Community

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“The film is asking them to reward it with a sense of prestige that it hasn’t necessarily earned,” one critic says of the film’s PR push

Courtesy of TIFF

No romantic comedy should feel like homework, and yet the conversation that has engulfed Billy Eichner and Universal’s “Bros” after its disappointing opening weekend at the box office concerns whether a movie that billed itself as groundbreaking and historic truly earns the label, to the point that even many LGBTQ audiences haven’t bought into that narrative.

There are a number of reasons why “Bros” underperformed at the box office, grossing just $4.8 million on a modest $22 million production budget. But the “Bros” discourse that has been the talk of Twitter this past week has centered on how the dominant discussion about the film has been the heavy-handed marketing around its status as the first major studio rom-com with a fully LGBTQ+ cast given a wide theatrical release.