When we heard there was another movie in the Minion franchise on the way, there was some excitement. Little kids love the movies, and the latest installment, Minions: The Rise of Gru, gives fans a prequel story of Felonius Gru, the main protagonist of the Despicable Me franchise. It’s not a surprise the movie is doing well at the box office. But it is surprising that teens flocking to the movie sparked a disturbing trend, leading to some theaters issuing bans. Here’s what you need to know.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is the perfect prequel to keep the beloved franchise top of mind, but a strange trend has people flocking to the theaters. There’s been an unusual number of teenagers watching the movie in theaters, ages typically too old to care about an animated kid movie right when it comes out.
The teens refer to themselves as “Gentleminions.” They’re Gru stans who go to the theaters in groups, wearing suits and carrying bananas, both nods to the character in the Despicable Me franchise. Hundreds of videos were shared on TikTok using #gentleminions.
And at first, it was adorable. Seeing teens embrace their kid-side and going to support a movie that gives them feel-good, and humor wrapped into one. That’s a feeling that did happen with some groups of Gentleminions — but there have been others who have been accused of disrupting the movie and doing that on purpose.
“Staff at some cinemas have even said they’ve suffered a ‘massive’ financial impact,” related to the groups of teens disrupting the movies. They’ve been accused of screaming loudly, throwing food, and making the experience anything but feel good for other moviegoers. Cinema have had to “issue refunds because of the bad behavior,” according to the Mirror.
On Twitter, a photo was shared showing a sign at a UK cinema that read, “Due to recent disturbances following the #gentleminions trend, any group of guests in formal attire will be refused entry for a showing of ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru.’ Thank you.”
"When it was just an idea of fancy dress, we were really excited. We thought it was going to be great fun," Daniel Philips-Smith, manager of Mallard Cinema in Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, said, per CBC.
"But the moment they were in their seats and the film started, it became a whole other story, sadly,” he added. “The behavior just went downhill very quickly."
There have been other reports of bans taking place or dress codes in effect to help curb the disturbing trends some Gentleminions have been doing instead of enjoying the movie.
But thankfully, not all the sightings of Gentleminions have been disruptive. According to CBC, many of the teen Gentleminions have been positive and have stayed true to the feel-good purpose.
"As you can imagine, having guests arrive in costume for big film release is something that we're used to, but what we saw this weekend was something really unique and special," Cineplex spokesperson Sarah Van Lange said in an email, CBC reports.
"While I can't give you a confirmed number, it would be safe to say that thousands of Canadians suited up this weekend to enjoy the film on the big screen,” she added, saying for the most part it’s just “a weekend of costumes, fun, and fandom."
Minions: The Rise of Gru is currently in theaters now after being released on July 1.