How straightbaiting tricks homophobes to watch queer films
A viral tweet has highlighted a hilarious ploy used by film studios to get straight people to watch films with LGBT+ content.
A Twitter user noticed the trend and how it was used on Brokeback Mountain, the widely acclaimed Oscar-winning 2005 film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as gay cowboy lovers.
In a tweet above film posters of the two cowboys with their female partners, the tweeter wrote: “I know y’all hate queerbaiting but you know what I find really funny? Straightbaiting.
“Imagine being het and entering the cinema to watch Brokeback Mountain after seeing these posters just to end up sitting there to watch Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal f**k for 2 whole hours.”
People were delighted with the revelation, with one respondent writing: “i snorted so loud my 5th grader jumped.”
“They really got the heteros with this one,” commented another tweeter.
Another fan said that “this is actually genius, and props to the people who designed these posters.
“I’m sure there were tons of homophobic straight people who went into the theatre thinking one thing and left knowing the other. dare i say normalising gayness to homophobes is actually a good thing? ”
One person said they were “literally crying with laughter can u imagine going 2 see jake gyllenhaal in the movie on the left?? the straights are WILD!”
Was anyone tricked into watching Brokeback Mountain?
It seems like they definitely were.
One person remembered how her “boyfriend was one of the people who saw brokeback mountain in theatres bc he though it was a “cowboy/farm life” movie and I still think that’s the funniest thing ever.”
That is pretty brilliant, to be fair.
“My parents rented this from Blockbuster to watch with my grandparents because they love westerns,” another tweeter commented—and they weren’t the only one.
One user recalled: “my grandparents are homophobic af. they rarely if ever go to the movies by themselves, but my pop pop loves western movies so they thought they’d give this one a try.
“And that’s the story of how my homophobic af grandparents gave their coins to see heath&jake f**k on screen.”
And yet another respondent said: “My homophobic father rented this movie once because he loves cowboys only to be very, very shocked.”
One commenter vividly recalled the hilarity which ensued from straight people falling for Brokeback Mountain‘s marketing campaign, writing: “As someone who is sufficiently old enough to remember when this movie came out: Not only did straight folks fall for it, but holy heck were they ever pissed about it.”
Has Brokeback Mountain‘s move been used again?
Very much so.
Film studios and other big media companies are canny and want to attract as big an audience as they can. That’s why Netflix alters thumbnails of shows to match different users’ viewing habits.
The way a TV show is promoted can also reach out to intolerant straight people, as one respondent pointed out, saying: “Black Sails is another good example of straightbaiting. You think it’s gonna be pirates fighting and f**king in brothels.
“What it actually is: gays & lesbians & bi pirates fighting for the Good, and people working in the brothel actually getting a good story.”
Another person wrote: “This is the Runaways teasing Karolina x Chase in the episode trailers, knowing damn well it wasn’t going to happen.”
Indeed, Karolina goes on to come out and kiss Nico, a female member of the Runaways.
Two posters for A Single Man also focused on the relationship which Colin Firth’s gay main character had with his female friend, played by Julianne Moore, rather than any of his lovers.
A Twitter user shone a light on this slight deception, writing: “Another personal fave of the genre.”
And sometimes, individuals can advertise films in different ways to cleverly convince their loved ones to see them.
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“When the Rent movie came out, my little sister wanted to see it, so I gleefully paid for my entire family to go see it together,” wrote one tweeter.
“My conservative dad had no clue what it was about. It was so amazing to watch his face.”
We can only imagine.
And of course, don’t forget the Call Me By Your Name poster which featured Elio and Marzia.