44-year-old Billy Eichner broke through with “Billy on the street” where he walked around town asking comical questions to ordinary people. He appeared in the television series “Parks and recreation” and “Difficult people”. Eichner has also done the English-language voice for the new “Lion King” film.
Eichner plays the lead role and co-wrote the screenplay for “Bros.”
Friday 28 October is the Swedish cinema premiere of “Bros”, one of the autumn’s most talked about films in the US. A romantic comedy with all the trappings of the genre, including nods to predecessors like “When Harry Met Sally…” and “You’ve Got Mail.”
The film takes place among successful intellectuals in New York who walk among the autumn leaves, have long dinners, say smart things, buy Christmas trees together and cry at the understanding relative. There’s even jazz music on the soundtrack.
But the main roles are played by two men. Comedian Billy Eichner plays Bobby, a museum director and podcaster, who falls in love with family lawyer Aaron (Luke Macfarlane).
The film is a symbol-laden big bet and was presented as the first major romantic bio-comedy with two gays in the lead role.
Therefore, the reactions were also strong when the film flopped.
Sveriges Radio’s US correspondent and former film critic Roger Wilson has been following the debate in the US about “Bros”. He describes Billy Eichner as a smart and never cheesy comedian with killer lines.
— He is an exciting comedian who has done very interesting things. That’s why I was very excited about this movie. That it could advance the positions of both the LGBTQ film and the rom-com, says Roger Wilson about when he was told about “Bros”.
The film only earned $4.8 million in North American audience revenue during its opening weekend in late September. A spectacular failure for a film that cost $22 million to make and has been marketed for nearly double that amount.
A frustrated star took out his disappointment on Twitter. Although the film was shown in over 3,000 theaters, lead actor Billy Eichner complained about how the film was marketed and accused “heterosexuals, especially in certain parts of the country”, of not supporting the film.
He followed that up with:
“Anyone who isn’t a homophobic nutcase needs to see ‘Bros’ tonight”.
Roger Wilson believes that the audience failure of “Bros” is due to the fact that Billy Eichner is not known enough to the general public.
— What he wrote after the premiere weekend when it turned out that the film didn’t do so well, it’s about a lack of self-awareness. Because one of the big problems for “Bros” is that he’s not actually a big enough star to be able to commercially carry this type of film.
More gay movies
TT: So are cinema audiences homophobic or is the film too bad?
— I actually liked “Bros” very much, even though it definitely has a lot of weaknesses. But overall I was satisfied when I left the cinema. But succeeding in making a charming comedy is not the same as succeeding in making a commercial hit.
The fact that “Bros” flopped despite the heavy investment in marketing has caused several experts to fear that the film companies will turn a blind eye and not want to make more blockbusters with a gay theme.
But Roger Wilson notes that there are two other gay-themed romantic comedies or dramas hitting theaters this fall alone. Among other things, “Spoiler alert” with “Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons.
— I don’t think you can draw conclusions based on the commercial success of a single film. I think we’ve reached the maturity now when it comes to culture with LGBTQ elements that a single flop doesn’t have to be seen as an omen for the future.