‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is Everywhere: What We Understand So far

The weird blob things are part of Zoomers’ own burgeoning sense of nostalgia, and they are a financial and cultural force to reckon with
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Henchmen by trade, the Minions’ only true crime is stealing the show.

Minions: The Rise of Gru debuted in the U.S. on July 1 and, in the week since, the film has taken over the known world. But if the information overload surrounding the sunflower yellow, banana-loving, overall-wearing creatures has been hard to sift through, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to the Minions guide you never knew you needed.

So… What’s this one about, anyway?

Glad you asked. Minions: The Rise of Gru is the fifth movie in the Despicable Me franchise, and the second prequel movie. The plot follows a young Gru—the main character of the original movie—as he begins his supervillain career with the help of the other Minions. 

These Minions, despite their hodgepodge way of speaking (fun fact: Minionese is a combination of French, Italian, Spanish, and Hindi, among others languages), have captured the hearts of viewers since their birth into pop culture. The bean-like beings were originally introduced to society with the release of Despicable Me in 2010, but now it’s hard to imagine a time before they adorned everything from masks to sunscreen. And controlled the lives of millions and millions of parents.

Is Minions: The Rise of Gru good?

Well, that depends on your taste in movies. But on Rotten Tomatoes, the film boasts a 91 percent audience score. Critics were less enthused, however, giving it overall a 72 percent.

The Rise of Gru’s story is instantly forgettable, but the film looks great, moves briskly, and boasts the vocal stylings of a cast that sounds like they’re having the time of their life,” writes Shirley Li of The Atlantic

So, it’s a kids movie, but one with a total gross of $123.1 million in the U.S. and Canada over the course of its four-day opening weekend. It’s now the highest-grossing animated film this year, surpassing Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, which has struggled to make a profit.

Why is Minions: The Rise of Gru performing so well at the box office?

The short answer? TikTok.

#Gentleminions is a trend that has taken over the platform since the film’s release, and some are speculating that its virality is contributing to the film’s commercial success. To many outsiders, the gist of the trend might seem quite bizarre—teenagers showing up in suits to see the film in theaters. But if you dive a bit deeper, it actually makes sense.

The creator of #Gentleminions, Australian teenager Bill Hirst, posted the video of him and his friends dressing up for the latest minions movie against the song “Rich Minion” by Yeat (which happens to be featured in the film and is an ode to the little creatures). In the snippet, the group of young men ride up and down an escalator at their local mall and clap in response to the film’s opening titles. The post now has 36.8 million views and 8.8 million likes.

https://www.tiktok.com/@bill.hirst/video/7114190265358847234

Since then, Universal Pictures has tweeted their gratitude to all those attending the film in suits, and the official Minions TikTok account even commented on Hirst’s original post. As the trend has continued to grow, analysts have spent time trying to decipher how it is affecting ticket sales. According to Insider, 34 percent of attendees this weekend were between the ages of 13 and 17—peak Gen Z range.

For many members of Gen Z, the trend is propelled by a nagging nostalgia that has long motivated previous generations. With Despicable Me released in 2010, today’s teenagers remember it from childhood. In an interview with NBC News, Hirst said that he enjoyed watching the film because of the sentimentality he associates with the franchise.

But the trend hasn’t been all beneficial. Movie theaters are reporting that those participating in #Gentleminions can be a mixed bag. According to the Guardian, some theaters in the UK have banned followers of the fad due to incidents in which they have allegedly been disruptive of the children’s movie.

One TikTok user posted about a complaint about how the suit-n-tie-clad moviegoers left a mess of popcorn on the floor, in early signs of a potential West Side Story dance-off. Still, these instigators are far from representative of all zoomer Minion-devotees. Regency Theaters President Lyndon Golin told the Los Angeles Times that #Gentleminions partakers have only helped make the atmosphere of the theater livelier and more fun for all.

I’m an adult with no young children. Why should I care about this film?

If you’re not coming for the slapstick comedy, Minion shenanigans, or colorful animation, then you might at least get a kick out of the soundtrack. The entire list of songs for the film was put together by Jack Antonoff, one-third of the currently-disassembled NYC pop-rock band, Fun, and a sought-after songwriter and producer known for working with Taylor Swift.

Antonoff managed to secure a slew of popular artists to record covers of older songs for the film, including Kali Uchis (who sang João Gilberto’s “Desafinado”), St. Vincent (who released a cover of Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown”) and H.E.R. (with Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music”). Though the soundtrack is composed primarily of covers, Antonoff got Diana Ross and Tame Impala to produce an original song for the film entitled “Turn Up The Sunshine”. So the soundtrack for Minions: The Rise of Gru might actually be the album of the summer.

In conclusion…

Maybe now you’re onboard. Or, perhaps not? Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that Minions are probably taking up more of your brain-space than you ever intended, and that they may never stop.


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