Los Angeles Times Column Scolds Billy Eichner for Reaction to Film's Failure at the Box Office


Los Angeles Times entertainment and arts deputy editor Matt Brennan penned a column taking aim at actor Billy Eichner for his reaction to his film’s failure at the box office.

The piece was titled, “The real lesson of ‘Bros’: It’s OK to let gay art bomb.”

Brennan opened his piece by explaining he did not want to write it in the first place.

“I certainly didn’t want to attack the star of ‘Billy on the Street’ and ‘Difficult People,’ two of the most successful screen adaptations of the gay sensibility in recent memory. But Billy Eichner forced my hand,” Brennan wrote.

He continued, “No one wants to support a movie at the point of a bayonet.”

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Over the weekend, Eichner blasted “straight people” for not showing up for the film, as IJR reported.

Commenting on Eichner’s remark, Brennan wrote, “It’s not just straight people who failed to show up for Eichner’s rom-com ‘Bros’ on opening weekend who might be feeling the pinch. As Variety pointed out in its autopsy of the film’s box office flop, its dreadful $4.8-million take ‘means many LGBTQ viewers didn’t show up to see the comedy in theaters either.’”

He added, “Does that make us too the ‘homophobic weirdos’ of Eichner’s confounding post-bomb tweet spiral or simply the silent Benedict Arnolds of his self-proclaimed march into the history books?”

The editor suggested Eichner could “be forgiven for throwing a misplaced elbow or two in the aftermath of such a crushing disappointment. But the sense of self-importance and, yes, entitlement in his response dovetails with the film’s rollout.”

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Brennan noted before the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Eichner “bragged that ‘Bros’ ‘is not an indie movie. This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate, ‘This is a historic moment, and somehow, you’re at the center of it. You helped create it.’”

The column goes on, “Here were words to stick in one’s craw, to suggest that, as well-versed as Eichner may be in the traditions of the rom-com, his understanding of queer history on screen had momentarily escaped him.”

The writer argued it is “precisely the indies, the ‘disposable’ experiments, the made-for-TV movies and forgotten genre entries, in which LGBTQ people established themselves in the American imagination before there was a name for us.”

Addressing the movie directly, Brennan wrote, “In truth, ‘Bros’ is not nearly so radical as it claims, and that disjuncture between what it is — a perfectly entertaining, middlebrow rom-com — and what it understands itself to be — a landmark moment for LGBTQ people in popular culture — is inextricable from the hand-wringing around it.”

Concluding his piece, “May the next quarter century bring still bigger swings, still more revolutionary incursions into the mainstream, still more films and TV series ‘too gay, too nice’ for straight audiences and not gay enough – never gay enough – for us. That’s progress.”

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Eichner fired back at critics.

“Box office, as we all know, has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of a movie. And tweeting about a movie you haven’t actually seen is meaningless. That’s just twitter bullshit. The majority of people who see Bros really love it! Go check it out and see for yourself!” Eichner tweeted.

He added, “And yes I’m going to continue tweeting about Bros every day for the next year just to spite you! GO BROS!!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!”

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