Billy Eichner’s historic new movie, Bros, sold $4.8 million in tickets during its opening weekend – roughly 40 per cent less than anticipated.

The film was marketed as the first gay romantic comedy released by a major studio, with Eichner making history as the first openly gay man to co-write and star in one.

It focuses on two gay men, played by Eichner and Luke Macfarlane, who, according to Universal, “maybe, possibly, probably stumbling towards love. Maybe. They’re both very busy.”

All of the principal heterosexual roles are played by openly LGBTQ+ actors and actresses, with its cast including the likes of TS Madison, Monica Raymund and Guillermo Díaz.

Released on 30 September, Bros was booked onto 3,350 screens in the United States, with an estimated $30 to $40 million spent on promotion.

It landed in fourth place at the box office during its opening weekend after facing fierce competition from the likes of Smile, Don’t Worry Darling and The Woman King – which landed in first, second and third, respectively.

“We’ll see where we go from here,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, in a phone call with The New York Times. “We’re incredibly proud of the film, and I really believe there is going to be great word of mouth.”

Eichner also said he is “very proud of this movie” and shared that he “snuck in” to watch Bros at a sold out cinema in Los Angeles, where the audience “howled with laughter start to finish”.

“Rolling Stone already has BROS on the list of the best comedies of the 21st century,” he wrote on Twitter. “What’s also true is that at one point a theater chain called Universal and said they were pulling the trailer because of the gay content. (Uni convinced them not to). America, fuck yeah, etc etc.”

In a follow-up tweet, the 44-year-old continued: “That’s just the world we live in, unfortunately. Even with glowing reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, an A CinemaScore etc, straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn’t show up for Bros. And that’s disappointing but it is what it is.”

The actor encouraged “everyone who isn’t a homophobic weirdo” to go and see the film: “And it *is* special and uniquely powerful to see this particular story on a big screen, esp for queer folks who don’t get this opportunity often. I love this movie so much. GO BROS!!”

Despite its performance at the box office, Bros was met with critical acclaim and holds an approval rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes as of 3 October.

It will be released in the UK on 28 October. You can watch the trailer below or by clicking here.