What is the ‘Gentle Minions’ TikTok Trend? Why Teens Are Wearing Suits to ‘The Rise of Gru’ – NBC Chicago

Movie theaters are experiencing the rise of Gen Z — in formal attire. 

Teenagers — mainly male — have been showing up in droves to see the new “Minions: The Rise of Gru” in theaters — decked out in extravagant suits, a trend that started on TikTok in early July. 

Within a few days, the hashtag #GentleMinions had garnered over 22 million views on the social media platform.

Minion Otto and Gru (Steve Carell) in Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” directed by Kyle Balda.
Universal Pictures

The trend itself is rather simple. Groups of friends — typically high school students — show up to the theater in coats or full-length suits even sporting the occasional cigar for ultimate sophistication status. They then post to TikTok pieced together clips of themselves: receiving their ticket stubs from a baffled attendant, strutting into the theater in style, and cheering during certain scenes of the movie — all to the tune of “Rich Minion” by the artist Yeat. 

Many are questioning the trend, wondering if the teenagers rushing to theaters are actual fans of the franchise or adherers to the Minion irony.   

Gen Z has a complicated relationship with the Minions. On one hand, Gen Z grew up with the franchise, this being the fifth movie the Minions have starred in. The first premiered in 2010 and the last before “The Rise of Gru” was back in 2017. 

Minions Kevin and Otto, Gru (Steve Carell) and Minions Stuart and Bob in Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” directed by Kyle Balda.
Universal Studios

 “The Minions are kind of cult figures and every one of my friends knows them,” said Carl Gebhard, a TikTok user whose “Gentle Minions” video went viral. Gebhard said he and his friends watched all of the movies growing up and had genuine excitement for the sequel.  

 So, the anticipation had built. But also, the Minions, like most viral moments, became larger than themselves and formulated their way into meme culture — becoming to some, an ironic sentiment of humor. 

With the fascination that is taking place now, it appears Gen Z has leaned into the moment, reclaiming the iconic characters for their own and elevating the Minions to a legendary status they were seemingly always destined for.  

Universal Pictures, the motion picture studio behind the franchise, has ushered in the peculiar fandemonium with open arms, tweeting:

 The official Minions Twitter account even reacted to the tweet, replying, “The Gentleminions.”

However, there’s been resistance to the TikTok trend from some theater owners. Theaters have begun posting cautionary signs on their front doors warning that due to the “Gentle Minions” trend and the disturbances they have caused mid-movie, guests in formal attire will be refused entry. 

Regardless of Gen Z’s intention, the “Gentle Minions” trend played a heavy hand in “The Rise of Gru” soaring at the box office and breaking the record for largest Fourth of July opening weekend of all time.  

Beyond the jokes and memes from the TikTok community, another viral TikTok creator, Alex Papay, said that after five years of anticipation the movie did not disappoint and getting to make the “Gentle Minions” video was a memory he’ll always relish.

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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