From Facebook Meme To Viral Phenomenon: The Minions Explained

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

The road to #Gentleminions is paved with a million yellow memes.

If you’ve been seeing hordes of teenage boys suiting up and congregating at the movies to catch the new Minions film and thought… Why? You’re not alone.

It’s a new viral trend that’s taken off in another movie-turned-meme-phenomenon.

In addition to watching the new Minions film suited up, there are hundreds of videos online of people clapping at the end of the film and even people releasing their own inner Minion by slam-dancing in front of the projector.

But how did we get from Facebook meme to the viral phenomenon of boys rallying at the cinema in their Year 10 formal suits?

Let’s track how the Minions got here.

The first thing you need to know is that Minions are a species of tiny yellow henchmen and they come from the Despicable Me universe.

There are three Despicable Me films and in 2015 the Minions got their own spinoff as a prequel. Minions vary in height but they’re usually under a metre tall and all they want to do is serve their evil boss Gru, although they don’t always succeed with this.

Essentially they’re resilient, earnest and just funny little fellas.

Off the back of the first two Despicable Me films there was a collective love for the yellow sweethearts, but once they got their own movie feelings towards them catapulted into a new sphere.

Minions are endearing and inherently loveable but most importantly they’re perfectly suited for the internet. They’re easily flipped into a meme or a gif and you don’t need the context of a feature length film to grasp the feeling evoked by a Minion.

Things work best on the internet by being shareable in bite-size portions, essentially the size of a precious little Minion.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is the latest Minions film and it’s seeing a virality on a new scale that the Minion’s haven’t really experienced before.

It’s all part Gen Z reclaiming Despicable Me on TikTok and Twitter and the payoff? Some mighty views.


Ahead of the movie being released fans knew that the soundtrack was going to be iconic. It’s produced by Jack Antonoff and has a Diana Ross and Tame Impala collaboration (!) It also features the likes of Thundercut, Caroline Polachek, Phoebe Bridgers, Kali Uchis, Brockhampton as well as a bunch of other big names.

But the spark that ignited the teens lies in Lyrical Lemonade.

Lyrical Lemonade started in 2013 as a music blog by Cole Bennett and has transformed into a multimedia company.

Cole Bennett is a director and producer who contributes to the rise of upcoming rappers and has worked with artists like Jack Harlow and Lil Pump. He’s also known for directing The Kid Laroi’s first official release when he went overseas and blew up with ‘Let Her Go.’

It’s important to note that Lyrical Lemonade don’t do collaborations often, so when they do it’s a big deal for fans.

Lyrical Lemonade is the piece needed the complete this Minions jigsaw puzzle because Cole Bennett directed the trailer for the film and asked rapper Yeat to soundtrack it.

The trend of boys going to watch the film in suits is called Gentleminions, which is a play on the world gentlemen, hence why they’re suiting up. This Tiktok shot in Sydney’s Chatswood Westfield of teenage boys in suits has already accrued over 8.5 million likes in less than a week.

Suits aside, another component linking the Gentleminions trend is the song ‘Rich Minion’ aka the track by Yeat from the Lyrical Lemonade trailer that plays under the Gentleminions Tiktoks.

Yeat’s song ‘Rich Minion’ has over 5 million streams on Spotify and is the track you might have heard teens dancing to at the front of cinemas.

Some cinemas in the US have responded to this by putting up signs stating that if you’re wearing a suit you can’t come in to watch the film.

“>With the potential for this to happen in Australia, Junkee reached out to Event Cinemas and Hoyts for comment who said:

“We love how much our customers are embracing the mischievous minions in Minions: The Rise of Gru which is currently the most popular film at Event Cinemas. We welcome all cinema-goers to come and see it, whatever their attire” – Event Cinemas spokesperson.

“We welcome all movie-lovers to watch Minions: The Rise of Gru on the big screen at HOYTS. To ensure that everyone has the very best cinema experience, any disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated, and those guests will be asked to leave the cinema” – Hoyts spokesperson.

Both cinemas confirmed that suiting up to watch the film is permitted, even if Hoyts’ response is riddled with some serious narc energy.

Gentlemionions trend aside the flick has already brought in over $100 million in the box office and was Australia’s biggest film over the weekend beating out Elvis and Top Gun — all thanks to the gentlest Minions of all, Gen Z.