Move over “Morbius,” there’s a new movie meme on TikTok, and it’s sending young men and high schoolers in droves to the theaters.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” had the biggest fourth of July opening ever, thanks in part to the draw that the “Despicable Me” prequel had for an unexpected audience – young men, or “Gentleminions,” who arrived in theaters over the weekend adorned in suits, ties, and an occasional cigar, to show ironic veneration for the yellow henchmen-starring family film.
TikToks documenting the arrival of the Gentleminions have created confusion for patrons taking their kids to see the animated feature and ire from movie theater staff, who have reported mosh pits and other debauchery taking place in theaters. So far, police have had to shut down some theaters and showings due to the relentless, new demographic that “Minions” has harbored for itself.
In particular, one photo stating that “any group of guests in formal attire will be refused entry for showings of Minions: The Rise of Gru” went viral after being posted on Twitter.
The meme, which bubbled prior to the release of the film, gained the momentum it needed after a co-sign came in the form of a caption posted on the official “Minions” TikTok account that said “Bobspeed you Gentleminions,” coining the term in the process.
Despite the fiasco that the Gentleminions has caused, Universal Pictures has gone along with the meme, embracing this new young male audience whose sense of humor, music taste, and jaded attitudes often seem at odds with the “Minions” franchise. Prior to the film’s release and the spread of the meme, Universal Pictures had already commissioned Yeat, a melodic trap rapper, to make a song for the film titled “Rich Minions,” highlighting a viral shrewdness from the production company when it comes to exploring different audiences for the film.
The Gentleminions meme was partly inspired by another popular meme that featured a well-known YouTuber dressed in a full suit in one panel, and pajamas and hoodies in the other, demarcating what one wears to various occasions.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is currently playing in theaters nationwide.