I might not be as glued to what’s popular with pop culture all the time, but what I have noticed is that there has been a gigantic trend on TikTok and the rest of social media that has something to do with the new Minions movie. As a result, Minions: Rise of Gru broke box office records—earning more than USD 200 million globally. But what contributed to this Minion-heavy world we live in now?
The Rise of Gru is a sequel to 2015’s Minions, and it is the fifth entry in the Despicable Me franchise. The film also beat Pixar and Disney’s Toy Story spinoff Lightyear when it opened to just USD 51 million on its first weekend. But aren’t Minions just silly little yellow buggers plastered on memes? How are they now being taken seriously?
Universal Pictures isn’t as strict about its mascots as Disney
Since 1989, Disney has taken action to remove images of its trademarked character. The Walt Disney Company fought to remove murals of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney characters in three Florida day cares. And ever since then, Disney has always been pretty notorious for being strict with its mascots.
However, very unlike Disney, Universal jumped at the chance to replace the murals with Hanna-Barbera characters like Fred Flintstone. Similar to its Hanna-Barbera characters, Universal plays a hands-off approach to places and products adding Minions or Minions-like designs—and it has arguably paid off. Minions are now just as recognisable and culturally relevant as popular Disney mascots. These days… perhaps even more popular.
There has also been a huge thing with Minions being involved in awful internet memes. Loads of them are Facebook uncle-and-auntie-type memes that do not AT ALL sound like something a Minion would ever say. And Universal is a-okay with that.
Just… Gen Z in general…
Remember when people on the internet inexplicably campaigned for bad movie Morbius to get a second chance at an opening? Sony flocked at the chance hoping for Morbius to earn more money, but it ended up earning even less money. There was even an online campaign to get Morbius back in theatres for a third time, explaining that: “We Were All Busy That Weekend“.
The rise of Minion culture felt extremely similar to what went on with Morbius, except for one thing—Gen Zs actually went to the theatres to see The Rise of Gru. More so, there have been several instances of Gen Zs getting together for a day out to see the new Minions movie wearing full suits.
I really can’t explain why it’s a trend or why it’s a joke. It just is a thing, and it has resulted in Rise of Gru earning the top box office spot—surpassing expectations.