minions looking surprised

Minions: The Rise of Gru/Illumination Entertainment

Newsletter: Meet the ‘Gentleminions’

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Tiffany Kelly

 

Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

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Hello! Tiffany here, filling in for Andrew. Welcome to today’s edition of Internet Insider.

We’ve got a news-filled edition for you, with a couple of reports from Claire Goforth on the online reactions to the mass shooting at a July Fourth parade in Illinois that left several people dead. Then Mikael Thalen explains Large Hadron Collider conspiracy theories and Michelle Jaworski tells us why the internet is freaking out over Minions: The Rise of Gru. 

— T.K.


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HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTING: As people try to uncover the motive of the shooter who killed six people on July Fourth in Highland Park, Illinois, conspiracists are trying to push the theory that the 22-year-old was brainwashed by the CIA

DON’T TWEET: A victim of the Highland Park shooting posted about her experience on Twitter, along with bloody photos. One woman decided to respond to this by…telling her to register to vote.

CERN-SPIRACY: Remember the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)? The particle collider led to the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, aka the God particle.” Now, after a three-year break, CERN is turning the LHC back on, and TikTokers are wasting no time with theories about “portals” being opened and more. 

CULTURE: When talking about abortionit’s important to include everyone who has abortions. But some people are claiming that inclusive language somehow erases the word women—such as actress Bette Midler, whose viral anti-trans tweet on the subject attracted a lot of criticism.


Minions memes help make ‘The Rise of Gru’ one of the summer’s surprise hits

Who’d have thought that in the 2022 box office meme wars, Gru and the Minions, and not Morbius, would emerge victorious?

Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru—a sequel to the first Minions movie and a prequel to the Despicable Me trilogy—made a record-breaking $125.1 million domestically during its first four days in theaters. It’s a massive achievement, no matter how you look at it. But its audience breakdown is intriguing: 89% of audiences were under 25—and 34% were between the ages of 13 and 17, a demo that might raise an eyebrow or two.

The first Despicable Me movie, which introduced the supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) and his scene-stealing Minions, was released in 2010. You could argue that viewers of a certain age who grew up with this franchise would want to see The Rise of Gru. But what is also true is that The Rise of Gru’s theatrical release inspired an ironic meme and TikTok trend to the tune of 8.7 million views that resulted in both butts in seats and a spread of complaints.

The gist of Gentleminions, as the official Minions movie’s TikTok account coined, is simple: You go to the movie theater to see The Rise of Gru dressed up in a suit, a trend that teens (mostly teen boys) have adopted in spades. Some participants posted photos online, but others have taken to filming themselves entering the theater in suits and cheering at specific moments during their screenings, such as the Illumination logo appearing on-screen. (Yeat’s “Rich Minion,” a song that has already gained popularity through Minions memes, serves as the soundtrack to many of these videos.)

Both Universal Pictures and the film’s Twitter accounts have endorsed Gentleminions—who would say no to free advertisement and excitement over a movie?—but movie theaters were not as enthused with the…shall we say, enthusiastic crowds. Multiple theaters in the U.K. have banned “unaccompanied children in suits” from seeing The Rise of Gru after other moviegoers complained about the noise, including imitating the Minions on-screen. One theater manager said the teens in suits cost the theater £1,300 in refunds following customer complaints.

Minions memes have been around for ages. Their yellow cylinder shape makes them easy to insert into almost every circumstance—even if it doesn’t make sense; they already had a backlash and were deemed uncool years ago. Their reemergence as one of the memes of the summer is remarkably similar to how Morbius became an enduring meme based on the idea that nobody saw it. There’s a big difference between The Rise of Gru and Morbius—and one that Sony Pictures didn’t understand, to the tune of a second box office flop. Apart from The Rise of Gru making more money in four days than Morbius made in its entire run, The Rise of Gru is a decent (if conventional) kids movie based around familiar characters. Whereas Morbius, even with its Marvel links, had no bite.

The Summer of Morbius is over. The Summer of Gru has come.


Michelle Jaworski


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👀 TODAY ONLINE

Here are some key dispatches from across the ‘net. 

🪦 Jordan Peterson says he’d “rather die” than delete a tweet deadnaming actor Elliot Page.

🍹 TikToker urges viewers to “take a load off” at their jobs since “the world is ending.”

✡️ Why an organization “fighting” antisemitism just got a Jewish college kid fired from their summer internship.

🖥️ Google’s search engine is turning up images of Nazi paraphernalia whenever users enter the search term “desk ornament.”

🚪 A Twitter user sparked a debate about Ring video doorbells after she posted a series of videos showing a neighbor reading the labels on her packages.

🌞 No summer movie watch list would be complete without epic movies from one of the most popular indie studios. These are the best A24 films you should binge-watch over the summer.*

💿 When you think of the early days of the internet, what does that look like to you? In “The Lost History of the Internet,” the Daily Dot explores the online communities and events that shaped us.

*The Daily Dot may receive a commission in connection with purchases of products or services featured here.


👋 BEFORE YOU GO

A woman is warning people about a scam on Facebook Marketplace in which people pretend to be a support person from the digital payment app Zelle.

woman arm out showing bed behind her (l) Zelle logo on purple background (c) woman pointing finger on chin speaking (r)
@self.timer.tori/TikTok wikimedia/Zelle logo (Public Domain)

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