Most people don’t want to see films having poor box office results. And I would say that most people, despite the “go wake up, go broke” social media rhetoric of a vocal minority, see the value in consuming and identifying with stories of people who may not look like them or share their style. of life. So, it is disappointing when a movie, like siblingspresenting an underrepresented population fails.

siblings the sad opening of just $ 4.8 million – and a string of disturbing tweets from writer star Billy Eichner – sparked conversations about why the well-reviewed gay romantic comedy failed and whether audiences should feel compelled to do a trip to the cinemas to show that you want to see inclusivity.

Eichner, frustrated by the opening, dizzy when he tweeted on Sunday, “heterosexual people, especially in some parts of the country, didn’t show up. siblings. ” She followed it up with: “Everyone who IS NOT a weird homophobe should go see siblings this evening.”

The tweets were not well received. Eichner’s tweets felt more like tail wagging followed by a moralistic confrontation than an invitation with a bit of warning, if you compare them to Viola Davis’ more polite request last month to see The woman king: “If you don’t throw your money down on opening weekend, you YET won’t see black women driving a movie.”

I am empathetic to the situation. It sucks to be passionate about something and not see that passion met by a willing audience. Still, I think it’s clear from the numbers that the box office isn’t simply due to straight people not going, or homophobia.

Several critics have suggested that people were turned off by a joke in the trailer that said straight people “had a good run,” though I guess any straight person offended by that joke would never see the movie anyway. What Eichner overlooks is that not even a significant population of the LGBTQ community showed up. Both because the film didn’t appeal to millennial and Gen Z-leading box office audiences, and because it was released in October alongside Paramount’s well-reviewed horror film, Smile, siblings it wasn’t a compelling case for a movie that was a must see in theaters, although people agree there should be more LGBTQ + rom-coms. But this is comedy.

While siblings No big box office stars, the film is produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Nicholas Stoller. The former set the standard for comedy in the 2000s with Anchorman (2004), The 40-year-old Virgin (2005), Very bad (2007), Bridesmaids (2011), and the latter has also directed comic hits Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) and Neighborhood (2014).

It’s easy to see why Universal and Eichner, best known for his television roles, might have expected an opening similar to Apatow’s R-rated romantic comedy. shipwreck, with Amy Schumer, another comedian-style love them or leave them with a great personality and a reputation for television. That film opened for $ 30 million in 2015. But it’s not 2015 anymore, and the comedy has had a downward trend in terms of getting audiences to come and see a theater.

This was amply made clear when Lionsgate’s Seth Rogen / Charlize Theron romantic comedy Long shot underperformed at the box office, alarming Hollywood studios and pundits about the future of theatrical comedy. If Rogen, a 21st century comedy icon, and Theron, a beloved Oscar winner, couldn’t sell a movie, what hope did anyone else have? Even then, Long Shot opened at $ 9.7 million, a figure Universal would likely have opened champagne for, albeit of the cheap kind, if siblings did the same.

It has become increasingly clear, even more so during the pandemic, that comedies often no longer attract the largest crowds. It’s a disappointing reality, but if people go to the movies – and yes, they still risk COVID – they want to show off, like Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, the recent hit romantic adventure comedy, The lost city. If audiences want to be drawn to a movie theater for comedy, they want Comedy +, and they can get it from most Marvel movies, quite a few horror movies, He shouted, No, Barbarian and also blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick.

Even a movie like Rich and crazy Asians (2018), which did not become a box office hit through Asian audiences alone, provided an enticing element of spectacle to seeing the richness of Singapore on screen and the musicality of director Jon M. Chu’s imagery. Most comedies and romantic comedies, if they are not of a high standard, present themselves as films that seem to be able to wait for streaming.

When Hulu released Clea DuVall’s lesbian Christmas romantic comedy, The happiest seasonstarring Kristen Stewart, dominated Thanksgiving weekend on social media in 2020. Apatow’s Pete Davidson comedy, The King of Staten Island, it had a simultaneous streaming and theatrical release earlier that summer. And more recently, Davidson and Kaley Cuoco’s romantic comedy Meet cute premiered on Peacock. I had siblings premiered simultaneously on Universal’s Peacock service, alongside theaters, would surely have garnered more viewers and therefore more social media chatter.

It’s hard to break the idea that a theatrical release is the best measure of success. But it goes without saying that streaming has become a place where comedy can thrive and where people are more easily able to show their support for the representation they care about in genres they simply don’t feel the need to see in theaters.

And if the theatrical experience is so important to the film, I think the stars and directors do siblings could learn a lesson from the black community, which bought theaters for films like Go out, Black Panther, Queen and thin And The woman kinginviting people to watch the film for free and to spread the good news.

As someone pointed out the other day in a Twitter conversation where I was tagged, going to the movies is not a charity and the public is under no obligation to watch movies to prove their values. But I think going to the cinema and securing the support of films that promote inclusivity could benefit from a more charitable means of accessing word of mouth. Whether it’s streaming or buying showtimes, studios and creators have the opportunity to build a community around the films they want to ensure success.

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