A love of Minions and access to TikTok has collided in this latest trend that has teenagers going to the movies in suits. Gen Z have been taking over theaters by showing up to watch the latest Despicable Me movies, Minions: The Rise of Gru, dressed in formal attire, often with a banana as an accessory (a nod to the Minions’ favorite snack). The trend, known as #Gentleminions, started on TikTok in early July. You might be wondering, what is the Gentleminions trend, and how did it start? Here’s what you need to know about the dressed-up movie goers and why some theaters are turning away teens clad in suits.
It’s been five years since the last Despicable Me movies, Despicable Me 3came out in June 2017, and fans were hyped as Rise of Gru started. Obie, a teenager who spoke to variety on July 5 about participating in the trend with his friends, shared that teens’ connection to the movie is driving the phenomenon: “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. We’ll be inclined to do so in our own way. It’s funny to see how that turns into such a big trend.”
Their “own way” is to go with large groups of friends — mostly teenage boys — dressed in black suits, and bring props like bananas. Thesis so-called Gentleminions, named to be a spin on the word “gentlemen,” have taken to TikTok to document themselves going to the theater in formal wear to catch a young Gru entering his villain era with his squad of Minions. Of course, the suits are seemingly inspired by Gru, as photos from TikTok show teenagers recreating Gru’s signature hand gesture of his hands together with fingertips touching.
It’s a vibe, but not all theaters have been receiving it well. The BBC reported cinemas banning “any groups of guests in formal attire” due to “disturbances following the #GentleMinions trend.” Some tweets noted that groups have reportedly made masses with bananas and caused some disturbances in the theaters.
Despite the bans, Minions: The Rise of Gru broke box office records for the biggest 4th of July opening weekend, taking in $125 million in its weekend premiere, according to CNN.
A TikTok by @bill.hirst made to the song “Rich Minion” by Yeat has reached 36.3 million views and 8.7 million likes as of July 6. The video shows a group of young men wearing matching suits and cheering in the theater to the title sequence of the movie. The viral video’s creator, Bill Hirst, told variety on July 5 that he and his friends “wanted to do it just for fun” and they “chucked on [their] suits and went straight to the cinemas.” The OG Despicable Me came out in July 2010 and minions debuted in June 2015, so a lot of the Gentleminions likely grew up with the films, and see this as their time to get in on the action — and once a Gentleminion showed up on TikTok, the trend was set from there.
If you’re going to the theaters to watch the movie on the big screen, don’t be surprised if you see a group of teenagers in suits. And if you’re one of the gentleminions hopping on the trend, once your suit is on fleek, remember to not leave an unwanted mess for the movie theater employees — there’s only so much time before the next group of gentleminions arrive!