Distributor Universal Pictures owes all of its success in getting audiences back to theaters, at least in part, to The Gentleminions.
Gentlemen are young men who photograph themselves in festive attire, flood unsuspecting movie theaters to watch the latest Minions movies, and yell at the screen as if they’re lining up the ring at Wrestlemania. TikTok’s teens may not be the audience the lighting was on their minds when she put together the latest slapstick-heavy cartoon for kids, but thanks to the viral trend, they’ve come up in droves anyway – the hashtag #Gentleminions has over 22 million views and count on the platform.
However, gentlemen are not always welcome. They’ve appeared in theaters everywhere from the US to Australia and the countries in between, causing so much havoc that some theaters stop them from buying Minions tickets if they appear in a suit.
If you spot a gentleman walking around the Minions, don’t panic – they’re usually harmless if they’re annoyingly obsessed with little yellow threats. This is how the weird trend began – and how teens on TikTok became big fans of Minions.
How minions became ionic icons
To understand the masters, one must first understand the disciples themselves.
Minions first appeared on the scene when Despicable Me premiered in 2010. Immediately, viewers were drawn to the tall creatures in overcoats serving the villain-turned-gru. With names like Kevin and Bob, a penchant for clouds, and a very unique delivery of the word “banana,” Minions have made themselves popular with viewers across generations — including Facebook users of a certain age, some of whom have begun sharing memes of ungrateful minions mediating paternity exhaustion.
Then there are the funny Minion memes shared by disrespectful young adults and exhausted adults. These users assume minions are funny because they are no funny but So It’s not funny that the same memes are getting funny again. Somehow, within this episode of solemnity and irony, the Minions become what they always aspired to be: comics legends.
Now in 2022, the kids who grew up with Minions are now young adults and fluent in the internet. Entry Gentlemen.
Gentlemen wear suits and spread chaos
To be a gentleman, getting to the cinema requires formal attire – usually a suit and tie. Then, after purchasing the Minions: The Rise of Gru ticket, you have to photograph yourself before, during and after the movie to show your enthusiasm. One should cheer and jump for joy and generally disrupt the viewing experience that inhabits the soul of the gentlemen. And then, of course, you have to post a walk on TikTok and put the clip on a song by rapper Yeat called “Rich Minion.”
Why are you dressed up for a night at the theatre? Bill Hurst, an Australian teenager whose Gentleminions video has garnered millions of views, told Variety that it was all “just for fun” after he and his friends spotted another group of boys on TikTok wearing their suits at the movies.
“We put on our suits and went straight to theaters,” he said. ‘It was very spontaneous’
But in some cases, the joy of the mostly innocent gentlemen has waned. Its director told the BBC that the only cinema in Guernsey, in the British Isles, had to cancel screenings after mobs of gentlemen vandalized the theater and caused some children to cry at the screenings.
Some US theaters have also experienced minor vandalism: an actor from a major theater series who was not authorized to speak on the record told the Los Angeles Times that his staff were aware of the trend after some gentlemen caused minor property damage, although there are currently no rules prevent them from watching the movie.
Some theaters ban them, but the Minions support their fans
Movie theaters have always been the favorite field of many violent teens, but gentlemen have pushed many movie theaters to the limit. In the UK, amid the chaos in Guernsey and elsewhere, many cinemas have prevented some young people from buying movie tickets, the Guardian reports. One theater said it would not allow “unaccompanied children in suits” who come to see the Minions wreak havoc.
It remains to be seen whether US theaters will take the same steps to contain the chaos. CNN has reached out to national chains AMC, Regal and Cinemark for comment on their response to the Gentleminions trend and is awaiting comments.
Meanwhile, Universal Pictures has embraced The Gentleminions wholeheartedly: in a tweet
Last week, the company wrote, “To everyone who appears in Minions in suits: I see you and we love you.”
The Minions themselves even sent the gentlemen a greeting video on TikTok, wishing them “Bobspeed”. Your new “fans” might watch the movie for their insincere laughter, but the Minions go to the bank with their scorn.