Tons of teenagers are heading on theaters dressed to the nines, all to see the latest Minions flick, Rise of Gru. The Gentleminions craze -- a trend from TikTok that sees young men put on suits and sit for screenings -- has been in headlines for ushering teens into Minions screenings and for reportedly prompting disturbances at some theaters. You may have spotted the trend on social media or even crossed paths with a tie-clad moviegoer while seeing the family flick in person. Whatever brings 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, securing a four-day total of $125 million during the long holiday weekend. Here's what to know about the Gentleminions trend, including what it is, why teens are taking part in it and the controversy surrounding this dedicated swath of Minions moviegoers.
What is the Gentleminions trend?
According to viral TikTok videos, the Gentleminions trend involves donning a nice suit, gathering with some buddies willing to do the same and striding confidently into a Rise of Gru screening. You do look dapper, after all.
It gets even more absurd. Some snuck in bushels of bananas, while others joined a circle of people bowing to a Minion mascot outside of a theater. It's hard to tell just how many people have participated in the trend, because the videos aren't grouped under one TikTok sound or hashtag. Lots of videos, like the two mentioned above, use the song Rich Minion by rapper Yeat. TikToks tagged with #Gentleminions have overall amassed 28 million views.
It isn't entirely clear why suits are the choice here. The 12-year-old version of Gru that appears in the movie is dressed in all black, but his top looks more like a more casual jacket with buttons (aka, not a suit jacket). The adult version of Gru wears a jacket with a zipper. The minions, as we all know, rock overalls.
On July 1, Universal voiced support for the Gentleminions craze via Twitter: "To everyone showing up to @Minions in suits: we see you and we love you," the studio wrote.
A large portion of the audience for the movie during its opening weekend -- 34% -- was between the ages of 13 and 17, according to exit polling service PostTrak. The Hollywood Reporter, which reported the PostTrak stats, said the last film in the franchise, Despicable Me 3, had 8% by comparison.
Why are teens taking part in the trend?
Some teens participating in the trend seem excited to see another Minions/Despicable Me film after a prolonged 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 that "the five year wait is over."
One Gentleminons participant told Variety: "I'm sure a majority of people in my generation -- because we grew up with the 'Despicable Me' movies -- now have nostalgia and enough money to see it on our own."
I'd also imagine it's also 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 appear to have taken a more disruptive route.
Has the Gentleminions trend caused issues at theaters?
Gentleminions participants are reported to have caused disturbances in at least two theaters. According to the BBC, a theater on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel canceled screenings of the film after moviegoers following the trend participated in "vandalism, throwing objects and abusing staff." The news outlet also reported that a UK cinema stopped admitting "unaccompanied children wearing suits" to Minions screenings, and cinema staff said attendees had been making loud noises during the film.
"It's been absolutely heartbreaking," the Guernsey theater's manager told the BBC. "We've had families who won't even go back into the screen when we've tried to sort it out, families leaving before the film has even started, and of course the children have been in tears."
During my social media scroll, I did come across two videos that appeared to show attendees jumping up and down during a screening and yelling loudly in a movie theater bathroom.
What is Rise of Gru about?
According to Universal, Minions: The Rise of Gru shows how a 12-year-old Gru first met his quirky yellow henchmen. When Gru gets himself in hot water after angering a supervillian group called the Vicious 6, the minions step in to help.