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Hyderabad: The fifth installment of the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise, ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ hit the theatres worldwide on July 1. In the next few days, a series of TikTok videos showing large groups of teenage boys riding up escalators in a black-and-white procession of moviegoers went viral. This led to the birth of the #GentleMinions movement, where large groups of people went to watch the movie clad in suits.

While it was seemingly harmless at first, and even good for the sales of the movie, the trend turned problematic when these groups became involved in misbehaviour at the theatres. There were reports of popcorn being thrown in the air, hitting the other watchers, wasting food, and unnecessarily littering the auditoriums. In one UK theatre, a moviegoer threw a banana at the screen, thereby damaging it.

Due to this trend taking a turn towards vandalism, UK theatres have started banning teenagers dressed in suits. Entry has been barred for anybody suspecting to be a part of the trend. Some theatres have also stopped showing the movie, which is harmful for box office collections. The global box office collection has reached an impressive $219 million. However, the ban placed may affect further sales.

A Twitter user appealed to young audiences, “Can the #gentleminions participants still contribute to the meme without trashing the theater completely and making minimum wage staff have to deal with extra stuff? Some people are really purposefully making a mess and it’s not cool. Be a memer but don’t be an a**.”

Despite such responses, Universal has reacted with much more encouragement.

The company posted on their official Twitter page: “To everyone showing up to @Minions in suits: we see you and we love you.”

The official Minions Twitter page responding with the name of the trend: “The Gentleminions.”

— Aishwarya Jain

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Author: Howard Caldwell