‘Bros’ Fails at the Box Office, as ‘Smile’ Arrives at No. 1

Promoted as the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio, “Bros” sold $4.8 million in tickets, about 40 percent less than expected.

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By Brooks Barnes

There is no easy way to say it: When the reviews are this sensational, the marketing support is this substantive and the theatrical footprint is this wide — and ticket sales are nonetheless this low — it usually amounts to outright marketplace rejection.

“Bros,” the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio, arrived to an estimated $4.8 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada, about 40 percent less than the low end of prerelease analyst expectations. Universal Pictures booked “Bros” onto 3,350 screens and spent an estimated $30 million to $40 million to promote it. “Bros,” starring Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner, who also co-wrote the script, cost roughly $22 million to make. It received mostly positive reviews.

Yet it was a distant fourth at the weekend box office. “We’ll see where we go from here,” Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, said by phone on Sunday. “We’re incredibly proud of the film, and I really believe there is going to be great word of mouth.”

Ticket buyers gave “Bros” an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls.

“Smile,” a new horror movie from Paramount Pictures that cost an estimated $17 million to make, was No. 1 at North American theaters, with ticket sales between Thursday night and Sunday of about $22 million. “Smile” received strong reviews. “This is an excellent opening, the kind that launches a new horror series,” David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy, said in an email.

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