Like most trends nowadays, it started with a meme. Of course it did. Teens in tuxedos? A beloved franchise to the Gen Z crowd? TikTok? You honestly couldn’t write it. But now it’s gotten bad.
Over July 4th weekend, the 5th movie in the Despicable Me franchise, Minions: Rise of Gru, hit theaters, grossing over $125 million over just those couple of days. How? Most didn’t have to look hard—for wherever the Minions were, dudes in suits weren’t far behind.
34% of people in attendance for Rise of Gru happened to be between the ages of 13-17, unlike 8%, which is where this age group was for the last movie. This lines up with the droves of #Gentleminions, who are, essentially, teenage boys in suits going to watch a children’s movie in a group.
— Mr. Worldwide (@FairiesUnite) July 2, 2022
The recipe for how #Gentleminions blew up is simple. Start with a TikTok joke that announces a funny dress code for a nostalgic franchise. Watch the hashtag blow up and unfold in real time. Wonder how we got from formal attire to refunds, refusal to allow entry, and screening cancellations.
But, of course, some of the guys got rowdy. BBC reports that #Gentleminions have been throwing things and making too much noise—like teenage boys stereotypically tend to do for social media. The teens have taken it too far, and as a result, some theaters have had to take drastic measures.
One theater in the UK had to cancel showings of the movie due to things being thrown, staff abuse, and vandalism. A manager tells BBC, “It’s been absolutely heartbreaking. We’ve had families who won’t even go back into the screen when we’ve tried to sort it out, families leaving before the film has even started, and of course the children have been in tears.”
That’s not all. Some theaters, rather than restrict the screening, some theaters are restricting attendees. An independent Regal in Cornwall, England, gave its customers the notice that children in suits that aren’t with a guardian can’t enter Minions: Rise of Gru.
At one of the theaters, a spokesperson says “Due to a small number of incidents in our cinemas over the weekend we have had to restrict access in some circumstances.”
Another theater posted signs that went up on Twitter:
— (@gillduds) July 3, 2022
No shade to the normal #Gentleminions—it was meant as a harmless joke, and most are just teens wanting internet clout. But breaking things and abusing staff is being an annoying bully, and no one wants to be subjected to that. So hopefully, the #Gentleminions will chill and everyone can enjoy the movie.
Alternatively, they could listen to the soundtrack at home in their suits. But where’s the public spectacle in that?
Photo via Universal