‘Minions’ movie makes history as new trend causes havoc for theater owners

It’s enough to make a supervillain cry.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the latest movie in the “Despicable Me” franchise, was released on July 1 and immediately set the record for most successful premiere during a July 4 weekend, according to IMDb. The movie earned $123 million over the four-day opening.

The movie premiere also created a stir due to a TikTok trend called “Gentleminions,” a call for moviegoers to attend the movie in formalwear and get rambunctious whenever the minions appear onscreen. The trend led to dozens of teens dressed in formalwear moshing and creating disturbances at theaters across the UK

One movie theater refunded more than $1,300 worth of tickets in one day. Another banned groups of guests wearing suits from entering the cinema. Another stopped showing the movie altogether. The trend has been seen in movie theaters in the UK, the US and Australia.

“Due to a small number of incidents in our cinemas over the weekend, we have had to restrict access in some circumstances,” a spokesperson for Odeon, which owns more than 100 theaters across the UK, told ABC News.

A still from “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” 2022.

Universal Pictures

Horse one Odeon theatera sign was put up advising customers that “any group of guests in formal attire will be refused entry for the showings of Minions: The Rise of Gru.”

“Genuinely the scariest experience of my life,” commented TikTok user @wixmovs, who filmed the video.

At the Mallard theater in Guernsey, manager Daniel Phillips-Smith told the BBC he experienced “stunningly bad behavior.” He added that large groups of teenagers were “throwing things,” swearing and abusing staff members.

Phillips-Smith told the BBC he had to give between 100 and 200 discounts, which has had a “massive” financial impact on the theater. For the first time in the theater’s history, managers made the decision to cancel the movie screenings, although the movie was reportedly restored the next day.

PHOTO: A still from "Minions: The Rise of Gru," 2022.

A still from “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” 2022.

Universal Pictures

At Vue cinema in Worcester, the manager told Worcester News that he had to provide more than $1,300 worth of discounts on July 3 alone, because of disruptions.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is the fourth movie in the “Despicable Me” franchise, released five years after the previous movie, “Despicable Me 3.” The franchise’s eponymous “minions” are small yellow creatures who wear goggles and serve as assistants for the franchise’s protagonist, Gru, voiced by actor Steve Carell.

These mischievous characters, who speak their own high-pitched gibberish language, have developed a broad fanbase, particularly among Gen Z moviegoers.

When the movie premiered on July 1, Universal Pictures tweeted out “to everyone showing up to @Minions in suits: we see you and we love you.” The official “Minions” Twitter account tweeted out simply “The Gentleminions” in response.

A spokesperson for the Universal Pictures’ animation studio Illumination Entertainment did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Commentators across the internet have been speculating that the GentleMinions trend could have helped the film’s box office success. The Hollywood Reporter reported that 90% of the film’s audience is 25 and under, and the hashtag on TikTok has garnered 44 million views.

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