In the summer of 2022, a new trend made itself felt: Groups of teenagers and young adults attended screenings of the new movie Minions – In Search of the Mini Boss. The peculiarity of this was that the visitors showed up in suits, sometimes loudly celebrating the film, inspired by the memes that were spreading at the same time. The trend made the rounds on Tik Tok, often accompanied by the song Rich Minion by US rapper Yeat.
What is #Gentleminions (Gentle Minions)? Explanation, meaning, definition, meme
The movie „Minions – In Search of the Mini Boss“ hit American theaters on July 1, 2022, there under the title Minons: The Rise of Gru. Already on the opening weekend around July 1, the first videos of the soon-to-be-trending Gentleminons appeared. The common thread: mostly larger groups of moviegoers filmed themselves in formal suits attending the screening of the film, enriched with sometimes humorous references to the song Rich Minion and the film. The trend quickly generated attention, especially on TikTok.
Even Universal Pictures‘ official Twitter account and the official Minions account responded to the trend. This generated further attention for the phenomenon. However, the trend also had negative effects, as not every group of moviegoers celebrating in such a way managed to behave according to the expectations of the movie theater owners. In fact, some cinemas reacted to the trend by refusing to allow some groups wearing suits to attend screenings of the new film. This behavior was met with controversy on the Internet, and in some cases special screenings were organized for fans of the trend. The Gentleminions phenomenon thus also generated a passionate discussion in the social media – and was covered with articles in relevant news portals.
Causes: The popularity of Minions
It wasn’t just with the 2022 release that the Minions received a lot of attention. The animated characters have their roots in 2010’s Despicable Me, a film from Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures. The film, which featured popular voice actors such as Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig and Will Arnett in the original, generated more than $500 million at the box office – and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the U.S. Golden Globes and the U.K. BAFTAs. The film’s humor resonated well with a younger demographic. Many of those who spread the Gentleminions trend were themselves early passionate fans of Despicable Me and the Minons.
An entire franchise followed from the early success of the first film. Along with Despicable Me 2 (2013) and Despicable Me 3 (2017), focused spin-offs on the Minons followed, including Minons (2015) and the 2022 release Minions: The Rise of Gru. The main characters in the spin-offs, the Minions are small yellowish figures that immediately attract attention with their distinctive oval and googly eyes. In addition to the slapstick humor of the films, Gibberish, the exaggerated gibberish spoken by the Minions, is also an important source of humor for the franchise. The phenomenon has since taken on a life of its own. The Minions soon appeared in both The Simpsons and Family Guy, and merchandise surrounding the yellowish characters boomed.
The power of the Minions phenomenon at least partially explains the hype that has been established around the Tiktok trend #Gentleminions. Many of those fans who grew up with the Minions since the first movie in 2010 celebrated the movie in their own way through the Tiktok meme. However, the event nature around the meme also met with disapproval from some cinema purists, not everyone could get on board with the new trend – especially moviegoers who wanted to enjoy the film in peace. Around the hashtag #Gentleminions, a debate arose about what cinema should actually be and what viewers should or should not do.