Dressy Teenagers Flock to Theaters

TikTok inspires international trend for overhyped film


Sketch of Minion from movie franchise

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is the fifth continuation of the Despicable Me franchise. While the production was delayed due to COVID-19 until this July, the film garnered immediate support from viewers. A TikTok trend quickly emerged from the July 1st release of the movie. Teens arrived at the opening of the film in suits and dress clothes with their friends. The trend spread quickly across the world, and soon videos of fans in suits started to flood social media. According to PostTrak, 34% of the audience for “Minions: The Rise of Gru” in the first week were between the ages of 13 and 17. This result appears to be due to the creators of the Despicable Me series, Illumination. The animation company diverted some of its advertising toward an older audience than the movie would typically appeal to. Illumination partnered with the music producer Cole Bennett and rapper Yeat to produce a teaser for the movie featuring Yeat’s song “Rich Minion”. The song became the background music to many of the videos of teens in suits, carrying bananas attending the movie. 

The combination of a nostalgic franchise we all grew up with, and Illumination’s advertising and support for the trend boosted the movie’s popularity among teenagers.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” set up a comedy-focused cast including Steve Carell as the famous voice of Gru for his coming of age story. The prequel to “Minions” builds the premise for Gru’s rise to fame and his long-term relationship with the immortal Minions.

While the one hour and 27-minute film saw rapid success at the box office and online, the movie itself focuses on a singular goal Gru has as a kid. Gru wants to join the Vicious 6, the leading antagonists of the movie. When he appears before the Vicious 6 and is laughed at, his young ego is torn apart. Gru steals the valuable Zodiac Stone from the group in an effort to prove his worthiness. ​​The famous Vicious 6 chasing after young Gru kicks off the premise of the film. The movie continues classic Minion humor and the comedic relationship between them and Gru. 

Gru’s mission takes many twists and turns as the viewer is thrown between Gru and the Minions’ separate situations. Gru’s original goal is eventually lost, and much of the movie continues with the Minions in creative fight scenes attempting to locate Gru. The minions begin to take up more screen-time than Gru and the plot focuses more on the rescue of Gru than his growth as a young villain.

For all the attention the film received, I expected further detail into Gru’s life. I was surprised that the movie focused on the Minions more than Gru, and went through multiple scenes that felt too random with the Minions. “Minions: Rise of Gru” encompassed the classic Minions humor that I hoped for, but the storyline felt random and disconnected from the sequels.