Loads of teenagers arrive in cinemas dressed to perfection, all to see the latest Minions movie, Rise of Gru.
The Gentleminions craze – a TikTok trend that sees young men donning suits and sitting down for screenings of the new Illumination and Universal film – has grabbed headlines for driving tons of teenagers to screenings of Minions and for causing disruption in some cinemas. You may have spotted the trend on social media or even crossed paths with a movie buff in a tie while seeing the family film in person. Whatever brings you here, you probably have questions.
Minions: The Rise of Gru debuted Friday after delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It had the best opening for an animated film during the pandemic, grossing a four-day total of $125 million over the holiday long weekend. Here’s what to know about the Gentleminions trend, including what it is, why teens are taking part, and the controversy surrounding this dedicated band of Minions moviegoers.
What is the Gentleminions trend?
According to the viral TikTok videos I’ve seen, the Gentleminions trend is to put on a nice costume, get together with friends willing to do the same, and confidently step forward into a Rise of Gru screening. You look dapper, after all.
@bill.hirst 🍌#fyp#minions#banana♬ original sound – billh
It gets more absurd though. Some squeezed through bushels of bananas, while others joined a circle of people bowing to a Minion mascot outside a theater. It’s hard to tell how many people participated in the trend because the videos aren’t grouped under a single TikTok sound or hashtag. Many of the videos, like the two mentioned above, use rapper Yeat’s song Rich Minion. TikToks tagged with #Gentleminions have totaled 28 million views.
@adultcollegeman we actually got my brother 💀💀💀 #fyp#minions#riseofgru#banana#fypシ#minionssquad💫 @jidion @minions ♬ Rich Minion – Yeat
It’s not entirely clear why suits are the choice here. The 12-year-old version of Gru who appears in the film is dressed in all black, but his top looks more like a more casual jacket with buttons (i.e. not a suit jacket). The adult version of Gru wears a jacket with a zipper. Minions, as we all know, wear overalls.
July 1, Universal expressed his support for the Gentleminions craze via Twitter: “To everyone who shows up to @Minions in costume: we see you and we love you,” the studio wrote.
Much of the film’s audience on its opening weekend — 34% — was between the ages of 13 and 17, according to polling service PostTrak. The Hollywood Reporter, which reported the stats from PostTrak, said the franchise’s latest film, Despicable Me 3, had 8% in comparison.
the streets may call me despicable but my money stays gru 💯
♬ Rich Minion – Yeat
Why are teens participating in the trend?
Some teens participating in the trend seem excited to see another Minions/Despicable Me movie after a long wait. (Despicable Me 3 premiered five years ago, in the summer of 2017). Users wrote in their videos that they “waited five years for this” and “the five year wait is over”.
A Gentleminons participant told Variety: “I’m sure a majority of people of my generation – because we grew up with the ‘Despicable Me’ movies – now have nostalgia and enough money to see it through. ourselves.”
I also imagine it’s also fun to participate in a meme and recruit your friends for innocent shenanigans. At its purest level, the trend seems like an excuse to get friends together for a movie. Unfortunately, some seem to have taken a more disruptive route.
Has the Gentleminions trend caused problems in cinemas?
Gentleminions participants are said to have caused disruption in at least two theaters. According to the BBC, a theater on the Channel island of Guernsey has canceled screenings of the film after trend-following moviegoers took part in “vandalism, throwing objects and staff abuse”. The outlet also reported that a British cinema had stopped admitting “unaccompanied children wearing costumes” to screenings of Minions, and cinema staff said spectators made noise during the film.
“It’s been absolutely heartbreaking,” the Guernsey theater manager told the BBC. “We’ve had families who won’t even return to the screen when we try to fix it, families who leave before the movie even starts, and of course the kids cried.”
While scrolling through social media, I came across two videos that appeared to show attendees jumping up and down during a screening and screaming loudly in a movie theater bathroom.
What is Rise of Gru about?
According to Universal, Minions: The Rise of Gru features how a 12-year-old Gru first encountered his eccentric yellow henchmen. When Gru finds himself in hot water after angering a group of villains called the Vicious 6, the minions step in to help him.