Why So Many People Are Seeing Minions: The Rise Of Gru Wearing Suits

If you spent the holiday weekend out on the town, you may have crossed paths with a horde of teenagers in tuxedos. Were they on their way to prom, or some other end-of-the-school-year bash? Possibly. But it's much more likely that they traded in their pocket squares for bananas and were heading to a local cinema to see the new hit film, "Minions: The Rise of Gru."

Although the world is still reeling from theΒ overwhelming popularity of "Top Gun: Maverick," a three-decades-late sequel to a fighter-jet action movie, the Minions wait for no one. Prepare for another box office surprise: the Illumination production just shattered the domestic box office record for the biggest Independence Day opening weekend ever, making $202 million globally. Presumably, a big chunk of this can be attributed to families with young children who are pumped to see what Gru and his mutant hench-critters are up to. As for the rest? It turns out that the Minion audience is a lot taller and fancier than you may have expected.

The rise of #GentleMinions

Once again, meme culture has arrived with a vengeance to confuse the masses. Over the holiday weekend, a new trend on TikTok and Twitter took the world by storm: mobs of teenagers are dressing to the nines for a night out on the town. I'm not talking dinner and drinks β€” they simply aren't old enough to do that yet. So instead they're donning suits and ties, dressing in formal attire to see "Minions: The Rise of Gru."

That's right, weeks after gaslighting Sony with "Morbius" memes β€” convincing the studio that there might be some Morbucks to be made from Leto's living vampire, then promptly ignoring its rerelease β€” Gen Z has thrown their weight behind a rather unexpected force. The trend, which has been dubbed #Gentleminions, is an oddly ominous take on a flash mob that's been gaining massive traction on TikTok with over 7 million views. Even Universal felt the need to weigh in on the movement, tweeting out a simple yet meaningful message to their well-dressed army. "To everyone showing up to 'Minions' in suits: we see you and we love you."

The good, the bad, and the Gentleminions

Lost upon everyone is the fact that this is exactly what the villainous Gru would want, and perhaps we should be a tad more fearful of the literal Minion army taking over the world. But then again, the concept of being in a theater surrounded by young people in suits sounds pretty awesome β€” you could almost pretend you were in an episode of "Mad Men." On a similar note, if Don Draper was in the movie marketing business, this trend would drive him crazy. This brings me to the inevitable downside of this otherwise impeccable trend β€” it's only a matter of time before marketing campaigns try to recreate something that was born in spontaneity.

One of the first posts to blow up on TikTok came from Sydney-based teenager Bill Hirst, who gathered 15 of his friends to see the film on June 23, when it debuted in Australia. Speaking to Variety, Hirst explained:

"We just chucked on our suits and went straight to the cinemas...It was very spontaneous. We had our formal literally a couple days before that. We had all had our suits ready. There were 15 of us, but, when we got there, there was another group of about eight. This was before it actually became a trend, so we were so surprised when we saw all these other guys there as well."

Variety also spoke with Obie, a teenager from Maryland, who dressed up with friends and also ran into separate groups of Gentleminions. The trend is a stroke of naturally-occurring luck, and it's easy to see movie campaigns trying to get a taste of the magic via their own TikTok creations. After some light internet scouring, I've already found a tweet rooting for a #GentleMario campaign, but if you think that Gen Z will endorse the Chris Pratt takeover, then you have another thing coming.

The Minion nostalgia is very real

Sorry to make all you Olds feel your age, but it turns out that this trend has a very logical, heartwarming explanation. In a way, this was inevitable: after all, Gen Z is the Minion Generation. If the kids participating are around the age of 18 now, that means they were about six when the first "Despicable Me" film arrived in 2010. For them, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is much more than the latest entry in the franchise β€” it's a bittersweet farewell to a bygone era of their carefree youth. And more importantly, what could be a more apropos celebration of those tiny agents of chaos than terrifying innocents with a well-dressed army? During his chat with Variety, Obie explained:

"That's what adds to the meme. I feel like some people genuinely think that teenage boys are going out of their way to see the movie just to wear suits. Maybe some people are doing that. But I'm sure a majority of people in my generation β€” because we grew up with the 'Despicable Me' movies β€” 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."

Save for the few jerks ruining the fun by being unnecessarily rowdy and making life complicated for cinema staff, Gentleminions is just a sweet celebration of Minion loyalty. And also a pretty strong argument for bringing formal wear back to casual outings.