Tons of teenagers head to the theaters to see the latest Minions flick, Rise of Gru. The Gentleminions craze – a TikTok trend that sees young men don suits and sit down for screenings – made the headlines for leading teenagers to Minions screenings and reportedly causing riots in some movie theaters. You may have spotted the trend on social media or even encountered a moviegoer in ties when you saw 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, earning a total of $125 million over four days over the bank holiday long weekend. Here’s what you need to know about the Gentleminions trend, including why teenagers are taking part and the controversy surrounding this dedicated band of Minions moviegoers.
What is the gentleminions trend?
According to viral TikTok videos, the Gentleminions trend is to put on a nice suit, meet up with some buddies who are willing to do the same, and confidently step into a Rise of Gru screening. At least you look neat.
@bill.hirst 🍌#fyp#minions#banana♬ Original sound – billh
It gets even more absurd. Some snuck into bushels of bananas, while others joined a circle of people bowing to a Minion mascot outside of a theater. It’s hard to say how many people participated in the trend as the videos aren’t grouped under a TikTok sound or hashtag. Many videos, like the two above, use the song Rich Minion by rapper Yeat. TikToks tagged with #Gentleminions have accumulated a total of 28 million views.
@adultcollegeman we actually got in bro 💀💀💀 #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 all in black, but his top looks more like a more casual buttoned jacket (aka no suit jacket). The adult version of Gru wears a zipped jacket. The minions, as we all know, rock jumpsuits.
Universal on July 1st voiced support for the Gentleminions craze via Twitter: “To everyone who shows up in suits to @Minions: we see you and love you,” the studio wrote.
A large portion of the audience for the film during its opening weekend — 34% — was between the ages of 13 and 17, according to exit polling service PostTrak. The Hollywood Reporter, which reported on PostTrak stats, said the last film in the franchise, Despicable Me 3, had an 8% by comparison.
The streets may have called me contemptible, but my money is still gru 💯
♬ Rich Minion – Yes
Why are young people joining the trend?
Some teens participating in the trend seem excited to see another 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 “have been waiting for this for five years” and that “the five-year wait is over”.
A Gentleminons contestant told Variety: “I’m sure the majority of people of my generation – because we grew up watching the Despicable Me movies – now have nostalgia and enough money to see them for themselves .”
I could also imagine participating in a meme and recruiting your friends for some innocent shenanigans to be fun. At its purest level, the trend seems like an excuse to get friends together for a movie. Unfortunately, some participants seem to have taken a more disruptive route.
Has the gentleminions trend caused problems in cinemas?
Gentleminions attendees are said to have caused riots in at least two theaters. According to the BBC, a cinema on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel has canceled showings of the film after moviegoers who followed the trend were involved in “vandalism, object throwing and staff abuse”. The news outlet also reported that a UK cinema is no longer allowing “unaccompanied children in suits” to Minions screenings, and cinema staff said patrons made loud noises during the film.
“It was absolutely heartbreaking,” the Guernsey Theater manager told the BBC. “We’ve had families who don’t even go back to the screen when we’ve tried to sort it out, families who leave before the movie even started, and of course the kids cried.”
While scrolling through social media, I came across two videos that appear to show participants jumping up and down during a screening and screaming loudly in a cinema toilet.
What is Rise of Gru about?
According to Universal, Minions: The Rise of Gru shows a 12-year-old Gru first meeting his quirky yellow minions. When Gru finds himself in hot water after angering a supervillain group known as the Vicious 6, the minions step in to help.