You would think a buzzing crowd of eager fans arriving in droves to see a new film would have cinemas licking their lips, but some theatres across the globe have found Gen Z’s latest act despicable. According to the BBC, cinemas have begun cancelling screenings of the new children’s flick Minions: The Rise of Gru, thanks to a bizarre TikTok trend that is equal parts hilarious and impressive. The calculated and organised prank is wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting film industry, so what is #GentleMinions and where did the Minions meme originate?
What is #Gentleminions?
If you’ve made your way past a theatre over the last week, you would have noticed a swarm of fashionable young men brimming with enthusiasm. Amid the sea of #fitpicks and handshakes, you’d be forgiven for thinking the hive of testosterone and overpowering stench of cologne was in response to the latest Top Gun or Elvis release. You’d be wrong.
Over the weekend, young men arrived en masse to see Minions: The Rise of Gru, the fifth instalment in Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me franchise. The film, which chronicles the origin story of Steve Carell’s animated super-villain, earned a staggering USD$125 million across the 4th of July viewing schedule, smashing the weekend box office record and sending unprepared movie theatres into panic mode. The blistering box office performance wasn’t just in response to the seemingly overt marketing campaign, either.
Leading the charge was a wave of young men and teenage boys, who carefully plotted their Gru-offensive. Unbeknownst to the movie industry, a shared nostalgic love of the Despicable Me franchise had birthed a unique community of movie-goers, sh*tposters and pranksters via the TikTok trend #GentleMinions.
The Impact of the TikTok Trend
Across the weekend, the hashtag was flooded with videos set the tune of Rich Minion’s Yeat, one of which has racked up more than 35 million views, showing young male fans, suited and booted hitting the movie theatre in an orderly line for what can only be described as a truly formal viewing experience. They arrived, shook hands, nodded heads and paid admission, making their way into the theatre. The moment the opening credits rolled on-screen, they arose from their seats and gave a standing ovation, much to the displeasure of fellow movie-goers, but it mattered little.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 34 per cent of Minions: The Rise of Gru‘s impressive opening weekend attendance can be attributed to people between the ages of 13 and 17. A traditionally challenging market to crack, particularly for animated films, the teenage outpouring of support is a unique result, even for Despicable Me. Back in 2017, the age group only accounted for eight per cent of the opening attendance for Despicable Me 3, demonstrating that while may of the #GentleMinions movie-goers were fans, most of them were just taking the piss.
to everyone showing up to @Minions in suits: we see you and we love you.
— Universal Pictures (@UniversalPics) July 1, 2022
Why are Cinemas Cancelling Minions?
Importantly, not everyone is stoked on the #GentleMinions craze. While Universal Pictures confirmed that it was totally fine with young fans dressing up and hitting the theatre, some cinemas are opting to remove themselves from the equation altogether. According to the BBC, the only cinema in small town Guernsey revealed it had stopped showing Minions: The Rise of Gru after “stunningly bad behaviour”. The reports suggested that #GentleMinions attendees abused staff and children left in tears.
The cinema has since confirmed that Minions is back on, however, it has instilled a set of conditions for any customers looking to attend a screening. As per the theatre’s Facebook page, no one wearing a suit will be allowed in and large groups must be accompanied by adults. Several other cinemas took similar precautions.
“Due to recent disturbances following the #Gentleminions trend, any group of guests in formal attire will be refused entry for showings of Minions: The Rise of Gru,” a sign at Odeon Cinemas in Los Angeles read.
Best #GentleMinions Videos
Vandalism and crying children aside, the #GentleMinions videos on TikTok are objectively funny. Seeing a troupe of traditionally disinterested youths band together to turn a children’s film into a meme simply shows the power of sh*tposting. Despite what the boomers may say, teenagers aren’t lazy, they’re calculated cunning and surprisingly well-dressed. Go figure.
Minions rise of alphas #gentleminions
Streets turned me despicable but my money still gru 💛😈📈#minions #riseofgru #minionsriseofgru #yeat #yeatminions #gentleminions #minions2022 #cinema #movies #comedy #icountmoneyyyyy #reeds508 #508collective #508totheworld #4funfactsreeds
What is #GentleMinions?
#GentleMinions is a social media trend that first rose to prominance on TikTok. The trend sees young Gen Z males dressed in dark suits and attend a screening of the animated film Minions: The Rise of Gru. The trend is part prank, part nostalgia and has generated an enormous amount of interest in the film. According to reports, the movie earned a whopping USD$125 million over the fourth of July weekend.
Why are cinemas canceling Minions?
Cinemas are cancelling screenings of the latest Minions film following reports of vandalism and disruption. According to the BBC, Guernsey's only cinema said it stopped showing Minions: The Rise of Gru after bad behaviour was reported in light of the #GentleMinions TikTok trend.