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The latest social media trend has convinced young adults to dress in Rat Pack-esque suits and pose in formation with steeple hands, sometimes with a banana in their breast pockets.

These throwback and somewhat bizarre scenes are part of #GentleMinions, a social media trend inspired by the film “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which has become an instant hit with young people worldwide. The animated comedy, a spinoff from the Despicable Me franchise, stars a gaggle of banana-yellow, gibberish-spouting rascals who assist an antihero — known for his steeple hand gestures — in his mischievous plans. The star actor, Steve Carell, reprises the titular role.

The latest Minions installment has made more than $195 million at the global box office, according to ComScore. Universal Pictures, which distributes the film, attributes at least part of the financial success to its sharply dressed, young fan base: Over the weekend, it told suited moviegoers in a tweet with a heart-shaped emoji that “we see you and we love you.”

But not all theater operators are similarly enthralled. While many young fans simply posed in suits outside cinemas, several TikTok videos that have racked up tens of thousands of views show groups of mostly male adolescents clapping or cheering loudly while in screening venues. In one clip, several young men inside a theater pounded their chests in front of the camera and repeatedly yelled, “Minions.”

The only theater on Guernsey, an English Channel island with a population of roughly 60,000, stopped showing the movie after having to issue refunds when rowdy adolescents disrupted many screenings. “The sheer numbers and behaviour aren’t manageable,” the cinema’s manager told the BBC, adding that he has had to handle large groups of disruptive customers.

Alana Li, an 18-year-old from Queensland, Australia, filmed her #Gentleminions TikTok video with her friends dressed up in suits on July 2. (Video: Alana Li)

At least one theater in Britain has started turning away people showing up in formalwear. And in a TikTok video posted over the weekend, an exasperated staff member could be heard admonishing the audience and reminding them that they could be removed by police for disruptive behavior.

“There are people, families, here to watch the movie. And if you want to disrupt the movie, you can pay for their ticket,” she said. The video has notched nearly 500,000 views and thousands of comments, many of them critical.

Minions happily take a back seat in the ’70s-inspired ‘Rise of Gru’

The #GentleMinions trend took off because it is easy for young fans to make such videos, even with limited editing skills, said Sarah Lozier-Laiola, an expert on digital culture at Coastal Carolina University. The nostalgia associated with a 12-year-old franchise that many saw as young children was also a galvanizing factor, she added.

Alana Li, an 18-year-old who lives on Australia’s Gold Coast, made a #GentleMinions video as a way to engage in some wholesome fun with her friends, many of whom have watched all the Despicable Me movies. Li and a dozen friends dressed up, posed in a parking lot and took pictures with a stuffed Minion toy — without apparently causing much commotion.

She said the trend’s popularity with young men reflects a “for-the-boys” culture, using a catchphrase popularized by the polemical and provocative sports culture website Barstool Sports.

Young, White men, who make up a heavy proportion of #GentleMinions participants, can get away with being a “little bit foolish in public” in a way that their female or non-White counterparts cannot, Lozier-Laiola said.



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