Tons of teenagers are heading to movie theaters dressed to the nines, all to see the latest Minion movie, Rise of Gru. The Gentleminions craze – a TikTok trend that sees young men dress up in costumes and sit down for screenings – has made headlines for bringing teenagers into Minions screenings and reportedly causing riots in some cinemas. You may have noticed the trend on social media or even met a tie-dying moviegoer while watching the family movie in person. Whatever brought you here, you probably have questions.
Minions: The Rise of Gru debuted on Friday after delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It had the best opening for an animated film during the pandemic, taking in a four-day total of $125 million over the long holiday weekend. Here’s what you need to know about the Gentleminions trend, including what it is, why teens are getting into it, and the controversy surrounding this dedicated group of Minions fans.
What’s trending Gentleminions?
According to viral videos on TikTok, the Gentleminions trend involves dressing up in a nice costume, gathering with friends willing to do the same, and walking confidently into a screening of Rise of Gru. After all, you look elegant.
@bill.hirst 🍌#fyp#minions#banana♬ original sound – billh
It gets even more absurd. Some slipped into bushels of bananas, while others joined a circle of people worshiping the Mignon mascot outside the theater. It’s hard to say exactly how many people participated in the trend because the videos aren’t grouped under a single TikTok sound or hashtag. Many videos, like the two mentioned above, use the song Rich Minion by rapper Yeat. TikToks tagged with #Gentleminions have amassed 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 that appears in the film is dressed in all black, but his top looks more like a more casual button-down jacket (aka a jacket). The adult version of Gru wears a zip-up jacket. Minions, as we all know, are rock coveralls.
On July 1 Universal expressed support for Gentleminions madness via Twitter: “To everyone showing up to @Minions in costume: we see you and love you,” the studio wrote.
A large portion of the film’s opening weekend audience — 34 percent — was between the ages of 13 and 17, according to exit polling service PostTrak. The Hollywood Reporter, which reported the statistics to PostTrak, said the last film in the series, Despicable Me 3, had 8% by comparison.
the streets may call me despicable but my money is still gru 💯
♬ Rich Minion – Eat
Why are teenagers participating in the trend?
Some trendsetting teens seem excited to see another Minions/Despicable Me movie after a long wait. (Damned Me 3 premiered five years ago, in the summer of 2017). Users wrote in their videos that they “waited five years for this” and that “the five year wait is over.”
One Gentleminons attendee told Variety: “I’m sure the majority of people of my generation – because we grew up with the ‘Damned Me’ movies – now have the nostalgia and enough money to see it themselves.”
I’d also imagine it’s fun to participate in a meme and recruit your friends for some innocent shenanigans. 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 destructive route.
Has the Gentleminions trend caused trouble in cinemas?
Gentleminions participants reportedly caused disturbances in at least two lounges. According to the BBC, a theater on the Channel island of Guernsey canceled screenings of the film after moviegoers following the trend engaged in “vandalism, throwing objects and abusing staff”. The news channel also reported that a UK cinema had stopped allowing “unaccompanied children dressed in costume” to screenings of Minions, and cinema staff said attendees had been making loud noises during the film.
“It was absolutely heartbreaking,” the Guernsey theater manager told the BBC. “We had families who didn’t even want to go back on the screen when we tried to fix it, families who left before the movie had even started, and of course the kids were in tears.”
During my social media scrolling, I did come 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 shows how 12-year-old Gru first meets his strange yellow minions. When Gru gets into hot water after angering a supervillain group called the Vicious 6, the minions step in to help.