TV and Movies·Posted on Jul 11, 2022Why Gen Z Is Wearing Suits To See "Minions: The Rise Of Gru"If you know, you know. And if you don't know, you're probably extremely confused.by William BarriosBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink It happened with Sonic the Hedgehog, it happened with Morbius. Now, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the latest movie to get the social media spotlight shined on it. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com If you haven't been on social media for the past few weeks, you may feel like you seriously underestimated just how much people love the Minions. You might've seen crowds of people (specifically, young guys) wearing formal attire and storming their local theaters for the next showing of Minions: The Rise of Gru. Is it childhood nostalgia, a big joke, or the greatest cinematic masterpiece of this decade? To understand #gentleminions, let's start with some very internet-y concepts.Special thanks to KnowYourMeme for a lot of links in this article. Some very internet-y concepts Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com To understand why 50 people would wear suits to a children's movie, we need to talk about the archetypes in meme culture. You already know what I'm talking about because they don't exist solely online anymore, having spilled into popular culture (for example, we all know what a "Karen" is).Two of these archetypes are the incel and "Chad." The incel is self-explanatory, because they are, unfortunately, real. Though, incel in terms of internet humor typically refers less to problematic misogynists and more to stereotypical nerds. Similarly, a "Chad" is pretty much an alpha-male jock.I promise this is relevant to a children's movie. The roots of #gentleminions go back to 2019 Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Warner Bros / giphy.com #gentleminions (which is what we're calling this movement of dressed-up bros going to see Minions, by the way) started with the "Two tickets to..." template. In other words, a lot of the early memes and tweets about it simply said, "Tickets to Minions: The Rise of Gru please."This template was started during the lead-up to the release of Joker. The joke, for a while, was that Joker was a movie ripe for incels. Millennial vs. Gen Z humor Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF FilmDistrict / giphy.com "Tickets to Joker" was initially making fun of Joker and its supposed audience, which is important to note because that quickly shifted. Before I go further, I want to explain that the reason I'm bringing this change up is because it highlights some differences between Millennials and Gen Z. Meme culture has changed from its early days; Millennials created online meme culture, but Gen Z now dominates social media. While the instinct of Millennial humor would be to make fun of Joker as a movie for incels, Gen Z quickly and proudly declared it the most Chad (aka "coolest") thing you can do. Of course, all of this comes with layers and layers of meta-humor and irony.Ryan Broderick does an excellent job of exploring how these two generations treat internet humor in his piece "The Rise of the #Gentleminions." The Patrick Bateman of it all Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Lionsgate / giphy.com "Tickets to Joker" was soon accompanied with meme figures that represent cool guys, like GigaChad. There's also a running joke that many young men, in an effort to be cool, will model their personalities after movie characters like Ryan Gosling in Drive or Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. The joke of incels going to see Joker suddenly turned into: Only suave alpha-males go to Joker.I mentioned Patrick Bateman, and he's pretty crucial to the whole #gentleminions phenomenon. If you haven't seen American Psycho, let me first say that Patrick Bateman is not the picture of suave, cool, alpha-maleness. He's desperately trying to act like a smooth Wall Street type to cover for the fact that he's a sexually depraved homicidal maniac. Hailing him as what men should aspire to be is the joke.Patrick Bateman was often featured in the "Tickets to Joker" meme because he's a character that straddles the line between the Chad and incel archetypes pretty perfectly. Anyway, put a pin in that; it'll come back around in a bit. Other examples of movies getting the social media treatment Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com Minions isn't the only franchise currently getting the "Tickets to..." meme applied to it. The upcoming Barbie movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, is getting the same hype. While many of the memes feature the same hyper-masculine characters as "Tickets to Joker," many feature very feminine characters. Fast-forward to today Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com By now, it's pretty easy to see how the "Tickets to Joker" meme simply moved to Minions: The Rise of Gru. It's seen as a "Chad" thing to go to the movie, something Patrick Bateman would do. So slick your hair back, put on your best clothes, and experience true cinema.Funny images online are one thing, but that doesn't fully explain why Mr. Beast bought out an entire theater for people in suits to watch Minions. There's a key element that Broderick points out in his article that sets Gen Z apart when it comes to memes: real world impact. First, let's take a look at some other examples of memes spilling into real life. Memes with real-world impact: the Szechuan sauce Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF adult swim / giphy.com Let's focus on memes that have actually had real world consequences. One of the earliest examples of this particular type of meme is the Rick and Morty Szechuan sauce. If you missed it, the sauce was available for a limited time at McDonald's in the 1990s. After a Rick and Morty episode centered around the main character being obsessed with the sauce, fans started demanding it be available once more. Eventually, it was, and things got out of hand at some locations. Memes with real-world impact: Sonic the Hedgehog redesign Paramount / youtube.com, Paramount / youtube.com I'm sure you've noticed, but movie studios care a lot about what people are saying on social media. So much so that memes cost Paramount $5 million in 2020 (and arguably saved them from a franchise flop).Even before the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog dropped, people were skeptical about the character's muscular design. Then came the poster, and more memes. And when the first trailer dropped, fans exploded over the ridiculous design (mainly, the teeth). After all the reactions, Paramount pulled the trigger on a complete redesign. To reiterate, that's a complete redesign on the main character of an already finished movie, just from memes. The precedent was set — if you have a Twitter account, you can affect movies. Memes with real-world impact: It's morbin' time Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Sony / giphy.com The current granddaddy of the marriage of movies and memes might just be Morbius. Leading up to its release, the joke on the movie was that no one would go see it. When it turned out the movie was just as bad as everyone figured and bombed, the jokes shifted to Morbius being the greatest, most successful movie of all time (aka #MorbiusSweep).#MorbiusSweep even caused the movie to be re-released after it bombed in theaters. Then it re-bombed. Jared Leto got in on the joke, too, though that pretty much killed it.It's possible that Morbius wouldn't have done as poorly if people weren't trashing it so hard prior to its release. That's up for debate, but what's certain is that memes brought a multi-million dollar movie that failed back into theaters, only for it to fail again. That's pretty incredible. Animation isn't just for kids! Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com I can talk about meme culture, Chads, incels, and the differences between Millennials and Gen Z all day, but I've left out one pretty big thing: It's just fun to get hyped about a movie. It may seem odd to older generations (Gen X, boomers) for teenagers to get so excited about Minions, but today's young adults were raised on animation.If you're on the younger side, you've likely had to defend animation or anime to your parents or older relatives. After all, they may say, isn't that kids stuff? But who doesn't love a good Pixar or Miyazaki movie? The average age range of people who went to go see The Rise of Gru its opening weekend were 13-17. Sure, this is largely because of the memes. But Minions: The Rise of Gru broke Independence Day opening weekend box office records, and I don't think memes are solely to blame.We can't look past the brilliance of Illumination's marketing (Illumination is the studio behind Minions). They caught onto the memes early on, and leaned into them without becoming too pandering. They even created advertisements based on The Office, which is a show especially popular among teenagers and people in their 20s.With the success of Minions: The Rise of Gru and movies like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, it seems like movie studios are getting comfortable with having audiences of more than just kids. And so...#gentleminions Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com So here we are. Animation isn't just for kids, seeing Minions is a Patrick Bateman/Chad thing to do, and memes are increasingly having real-world effects. It's all resulted in #gentleminions, and since it opened on Fourth of July weekend, it's your patriotic duty to go watch it.Below are some of the best #gentleminions gatherings and memes: The #gentleminions themselves View this video on YouTube TokPlugg Again, this movie had the biggest Fourth of July box office weekend in history. Mad Men's Don Draper isn't going to miss out on the landmark event. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF AMC / giphy.com From drunk driving to the theater with a woman on his arm to sitting contemplatively in a theater while smoking a cigarette, taking in the art, Don is a man of culture. A minion for a child? Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF AFV / giphy.com Adoption is not off the table for some. A minion for a...lover? Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com Some people are hoping to get lucky at Minions screenings, while others are more interested in the minions themselves. Things have also gotten a little too crazy at some theaters. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com When you're rolling up to a theater with 10 other guys all wearing suits and ready to go absolutely apeshit at a movie, it's easy to get lost in the moment. Some theaters have had crowds that went pretty off the rails. In one of these videos, they all seem to be speaking minion? Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com Some theaters had audiences getting up, dancing, and chanting in front of the screen. This was apparently especially common during the credits. In fact, things got so out of hand that some theaters aren't even taking a chance. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com If you walk into a theater wearing formal-wear, you might not make it past the ticket counter. Theaters have been banning young people wearing suits, especially if they're not accompanied by an adult. If you're wondering why, take a look at this video in case you missed it above. If you want to get in on #gentleminions, be mindful of your theater. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Illumination / giphy.com Plenty of teens who just want a laugh are helping the success of Minions, but that's only part of its record numbers. There's, of course, all the children who are also psyched to watch this movie, and less interested in meta-humor. Then you've got the parents who have had plenty of high-energy screaming on their plates and likely don't want more. We can't all be Mr. Beast and reserve an entire theater just for people who are in on the joke, so try to avoid going completely nuts in your showing if there are parents with kids in the audience. But that doesn't mean you can't grab some friends and go enjoy a movie that plenty of people put a lot of hard work into! Do you think the Barbie movie theaters will get as wild as some of the Minions showings? Let me know in the comments!