The Quorum

In Focus: BROS

WHY IS THIS FILM NOTEWORTHY?

It’s noteworthy because it’s a comedy, and we haven’t had many original, non-action comedies in this post-pandemic era. EASTER SUNDAY and UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT come to mind, though neither were big performers. EASTER opened to $5M, while UNBEARABLE did somewhat better, debuting to $7M. With BROS arriving in a few weeks, we will have another data point showing whether there is a theatrical appetite for comedies. 

Coming on the heels of Hulu’s FIRE ISLAND, BROS is another gay-forward movie featuring an LGBTQI cast. Despite being toplined by established gay talent, including Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, and Harvey Fierstein, BROS is being directed by non-gay filmmaker Nicholas Stoller. It may seem odd to have Stoller – the filmmaker behind decidedly heterosexual films like NEIGHBORS, THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT, and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL – behind the camera, but it will be interesting to see his take on modern gay romance. 

As arguably the highest profile gay romantic comedy to come from a studio, it is both a test of audience’s appetite for comedies in general and a test of gay romantic comedies more specifically. 

BOX OFFICE UNIVERSE:

BROS is scheduled to open on September 30th, so below we’ve included only PG-13 or R-rated, non-sequel comedies from September and October dating back to 2011. 

It could be argued that we should omit JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA and TYLER PERRY’S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN since both are extensions of existing brands. Perhaps it’s not surprising that they have the highest debuts in the group. After that, the numbers aren’t that impressive. The average opening is $10.3M, and the median is $7.0M. Suddenly the numbers for EASTER and UNBEARABLE make sense. 

Bottom line, an opening above $10M would put BROS towards the high end of its box office universe. 

AWARENESS: 

Let’s start, as we always do, with awareness. When UNBEARABLE (light yellow) opened, awareness was at 33%. EASTER (dark yellow) was at 26%. Currently, BROS (brown) is at 19%, which is almost identical to the other two films at the same distance from release. That would suggest that BROS is on a path to open in the same $5-$7M neighborhood as these two comps. 

This chart also shows that to open above $10M, it should target a final awareness north of 33%. It will more likely need to be closer to 40% if it hopes to perform towards the high end of its box office universe. 

Things look less encouraging for BROS on the interest side. Currently, BROS (navy) has an interest score of 4.2. That is well below UNBEARABLE (light blue) and EASTER (royal blue) at the same distance from release. 

At the moment, BROS ranks 55th in interest among the 57 films currently being tracked by The Quorum. 

That certainly doesn’t look good, although all may not be lost. So far in 2022, nine films (below) arrived in theaters with an interest score below 5.0. All of them opened below $6M, except for one. DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA opened to $16.0M despite having an interest score of 4.5. 

How do you explain that? And what are the chances that BROS will follow a similar path to success as ABBEY?

The interest score for ABBEY was low simply because its target audience was women, specifically older women. The audience for ABBEY was 73% female and 48% over 55 years old. We know that across the board, women, especially older women, show lower interest levels than men. 

With the exception of only a handful of films (HOCUS POCUS 2, THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE WOMAN KING), men’s interest is higher than women’s. The average interest score for a given film is 5.7 for men and 5.1 for women.

That explains the lower interest score for ABBEY. But ABBEY’s robust awareness score of 40% at release lifted the opening weekend gross for the film. None of the other films above had awareness anywhere near 40%. 

What does this mean for BROS? It means that if the target demo is older women, we can begin to discount its low interest score. But, for us to do that, we would like to see awareness reach the 40% range to comfortably look past the interest scores. 

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