Variety critic Todd McCarthy has suggested that the key target audience for Zack Snyder‘s 300 (Warner Bros., 3.9) may be a bit broader than just your standard comic-book geek-fanboy action crowd. Warner Bros. would do well, he’s essentially saying, to launch a concurrent ad campaign with The Advocate and other gay-friendly publications.

“Possibly nowhere outside of gay porn have so many broad shoulders, bulging biceps and ripped torsos been seen onscreen as in 300,” McCarthy writes, adding that this “will generate a certain bonus audience of its own. It’s not even certain Steve Reeves, the original Hercules, would have made the grade here. But then, this is Sparta, the Greek city-state where boys were separated from their families at age 7 to undergo years of training to forge a population of soldiers unmatched in strength, bravery and bloodlust.”

Right after the words “at age 7” I was expecting to read “and soon after had to be separated from older males with a crowbar” but nope.

The question, of course, is who’s the main closet case among the 300 auteurs? Snyder is the easiest guy to point to, but what about Frank Miller? What other films have been marketed as action-genre films aimed at straight males but in fact had a simultaneous homoerotic appeal to gays? Spartacus was the first sword- and-sandal pic to tap into this (47 years ago!) with the “snails and oysters” scene between Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis.