Billy Eichner’s ‘Bros’ Will Not Premiere in Middle East Due to Gay Bans

·2 min read

Billy Eichner’s “Bros” is bowing out of the Middle East.

Universal Pictures confirmed the first R-rated gay rom-com ever made by a major studio will not debut in Middle East markets “due to cultural and commercial reasons,” per a source. The film premieres in the U.S. September 30 and will be rolled out in most international markets throughout October and November.

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“Bros” is expected to not screen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Kuwait, especially after those respective nations have previously banned films with queer themes, much like “Lightyear” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” earlier this year.

“Bros” stars Eichner as a podcaster and museum executive who has a complicated courtship with a lawyer who is seemingly out of his league, played by Luke Macfarlane. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” helmer Nicholas Stoller directs the film with an entirely queer cast, including Bowen Yang, Jim Rash, Harvey Fierstein, Symone, and Miss Lawrence.

“I wanted to make a movie that was hilarious and relatable to everyone, first and foremost I wanted to make a movie that felt authentic for the LGBTQ folks that the movie is about — and who have been so profoundly underserved by Hollywood over the years, particularly the major movie studios,” Eichner wrote in a letter to members of the media. “From the storytelling to the casting to the crew, it was crucial for me that the needs of LGBTQ+ people were being prioritized. And while it’s insane to me that it took this long to get this movie made, it’s still incredibly exciting to me — and a real sign of progress — that the same studio making movies like ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘The Fast and the Furious’ is also releasing this R-rated gay rom with an all LGBTQ+ cast, and with as much passion and enthusiasm as they release those other films.”

IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio reviewed “Bros” following its 2022 TIFF premiere, writing that the film “hears and sees” its queer audience, especially gay men.

“Eichner’s gay homage to the great American romcoms of yesterday looks and feels exactly like them, and that’s groundbreaking enough,” Lattanzio summed up. “We’ll take that any day over a movie that tries too hard to pander to gay audiences.”

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