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Illumination Entertainment's Minions sequel has spawned more than just record-breaking box office returns. In addition to its impressive financial performance the world over, The Rise of Gru has also resulted in the "#GentleMinions" movement, where young people dress up in fancy attire to attend screenings of the family-friendly feature en masse.
This peculiar social media trend — which has racked up an astonishing 8 million views on TikTok — gained the attention of the film's distributor, Universal Pictures, which responded to the fans on Twitter just before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. "To everyone showing up to Minions in suits: we see you and we love you," wrote the studio.
Bill Hirst, a teenager from Australia, was one of the first TikTok users to go viral with the meme. His video boasts over 8 million likes, more than 35 million views, and a top comment from the official Minions account (the comment itself has over 800,000 likes and over 1,700 responses).
“My mate saw one of the first videos that was quite small at the time. We wanted to do it just for fun,” Hirst explained to Variety. “We just chucked on our suits and went straight to the cinemas…It was very spontaneous. We had our formal literally a couple days before that. We had all had our suits ready ... There were 15 of us, but, when we got there, there was another group of about eight. This was before it actually became a trend, so we were so surprised when we saw all these other guys there as well ... All the people who were just there to watch it were freaking out… You’re not used to seeing people in suits at the cinemas."
The "#Minions" hashtag has over 8 billion views on TikTok as of this writing.
Unfortunately, the film has also brought a few bad apples, or should we say bananas? Apparently there was an incident where audience members chucked bananas (the preferred food items of the Minions) at the screen, which prompted certain theaters to ban these so-called distinguished fans. "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. Thank you," reads a flyer purportedly posted by the United Kingdom-based Odeon Cinemas.
"I think it’s great that people are participating in the trend in their own style and unique ways," Maryland-based teenager Obie (nigeriannightmare0 and obi_w4n on TikTok) tells SYFY WIRE over Instagram. "I just hope some wouldn’t ruin the fun for everyone by being a disturbance to other people, especially children attending the film."
Set in the 1970s, the direct follow-up to Minions follows the ascent of a young Gru (once again played by Steve Carell) to the status of world-renowned super-villain. To gain the dastardly mantle, the precocious boy relies on the help and support of his overall-wearing and high-pitched titular underlings (all of whom are voiced by Pierre Coffin).
Minions: The Rise of Gru is now playing in theaters everywhere. Click here to purchase tickets.