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Why are we watching the new Minions film in suits?

A new TikTok trend has Gen Zers flocking to their local cinemas in fully fitted suits to watch Minions: The Rise of Gru. Is it a genuine social media trend or a carefully calculated marketing scheme?

The new Minions: Rise of Gru film is a bizarre entanglement of pop culture references and memes.

Its musical soundtrack has a top tier features list, boasting appearances from Tame Impala, Diana Ross, Brockhampton, Phoebe Bridges, and H.E.R, amongst others. Ticket sales have broken records in the US with the biggest July 4th opening release ever. Not too shabby.

Where the film has particularly stood out, however, is in the bizarre #gentleminions trend currently sweeping TikTok. Gen Zers (mostly teenage boys) are kitting themselves out in full piece suits and heading to their local screenings to create online content.

It’s become such a phenomenon that several cinema chains have had to ban teens in suits for rowdy behaviour, while Universal Pictures acknowledged the trend via Twitter a few days ago.

Where did this meme come from, though? While it’s impossible to say exactly where or when it started, it’s worth noting that the official Minions TikTok account was almost instantaneous in embracing the whole thing.

@minions

Bobspeed you gentleminions. 🤵 #Minions #TheRiseOfGru only in theaters now. #gentleminions #gentlemen #riseofgru #mintok

♬ Powerful songs like action movie music – Tansa

This tuned-in marketing strategy is a testament to social media’s evolution over the last five years or so. Brands are leaning further and further into ironic, left-field meme culture, so much so that they often abandon their usually squeaky clean image for some truly unhinged videos.

Duolingo’s account is a prime example of this new-age strategy. Check this one out, which uses…feet pictures as a meme?

@duolingo

♬ Bananza (Belly Dancer) – stella💜

We’ve seen TikTok become a serious global force in marketing and popular culture in recent years. Kate Bush’s sudden rise up the charts for a song four decades old is part of a growing advertising tactic that focuses on streaming, TikTok, and social media in order to repurpose dated material – film franchises like the Minions are no different.

So, while I can’t exactly pinpoint why we’re dressing up in suits and heading to the theatre, I do know that this trend hits several key Gen Z tropes that have helped it gain widespread appeal.

First off, it tows the line between being ironic and genuine. How much of the suit-wearing adoration is tongue-and-cheek and how much is heartfelt, nostalgic obsession is unclear, giving the spectacle an edge that’s not entirely dissimilar to the recent Binley Mega Chippy craze.

It also encourages a specific type of video that’s easy to mess around with. Some TikTok users have taken things a step further from just donning suits, creating full-on narratives and story lines for comedic purposes.

Thirdly, it’s also just fun. A night out to the cinema with friends is entertaining enough, but with formal attire? I can get behind that. If I was still in my teenage years (a fading memory now) I could imagine I’d end up lost in the meme sauce.

To conclude, the #gentleminion trend is a sign of social media’s ability to create profit and break box office records, further confirming that TikTok is indeed our platform of choice for the future of pop culture. It demonstrates the willingness of big-name franchises to jump into quick trends, regardless of how surreal they become.

Whatever’s next, who’s to say. For now we’ve a banging Minion soundtrack to enjoy – suit up!

 

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