Last week, Billy Eichner made a big bid for movie stardom. It did not go so well. The Judd Apatow-produced Bros opened with a huge release, hoping that in this franchise-heavy age there was room for a) a rom-com and b) one that was about gay men. (And also c) a movie starring a guy who’s made his name screaming at strangers on the street.) Turns out there wasn’t. Eichner went on a furious Twitter tirade, putting the blame on straight people for not turning up. Now, with a few days to cool down, he’s offering a more measured response.
Eichner participated at the New Yorker Festival on Friday, where he spoke alongside legendary performer (and Bros player) Harvey Fierstein. He slightly backed off his previous stance, but not by too much.
“Homophobia is a bigger problem than as it pertains to this silly rom-com we made, you know what I mean? But do I think it’s a factor? Yes. I think in certain parts of the country, it probably was a factor,” Eichner told the crowd.
But he acknowledged that it’s also about how moviegoing has changed in the last several years.
“There’s a lot of factors to it. To open this movie, in this many theaters, a rom-com in 2022 — there are rom-coms with mega-stars, which struggle at the box office, and a lot of the biggest comedy stars are taking their movies to streaming. And for good reason! That seems to be where people want to watch these movies. I still love seeing these movies in the theater. I grew up going to see all these romantic comedies at the movie theater with my parents.”
He admitted, “It was a bold swing to open this movie in this many movie theaters without big movie stars.”
Eichner, who’s said he was once told he was too gay to be on TV, came under some considerable fire when he lashed out after Bros‘ lackluster opening weekend, saying “Everyone who ISN’T a homophobic weirdo” should go see his movie.
Bros is now playing movie theaters.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)