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The Minion Cult Explained: How Rise Of Gru Used TikTok To Become A Hit

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The Minion Cult Explained: How Rise Of Gru Used TikTok To Become A Hit

 

Just more than a week after its theatrical release, Minions: The Rise of Gru quickly became a blockbuster hit, thanks to TikTok. Directed by Kyle Balda, Minions: The Rise of Gru serves as the sequel to the 2015 spin-off film Minions. While animated movies typically take years to produce, the release of Rise of Gru was pushed back by two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent temporary closure of its animation studio, Illumination. Regardless, the seven-year wait for Minions: The Rise of Gru proved to be worth it, as the film broke box office records.

The film’s reviews have been generally positive, with most of them praising its trademark humor and entertainment value for children. The soundtrack for Minions: The Rise of Gru, which is a compilation of contemporary artists doing their rendition of ’70s hits and produced by Grammy Award-winner Jack Antonoff, also gained recognition from its viewers. However, some critics point out the quite simplistic plot of Rise of Gru compared to its predecessor. Still, this feedback certainly did not affect the commercial performance of the Despicable Me entry.

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RELATED: Minions: The Rise Of Gru Voice Cast Guide: What The Actors Look Like IRL

Almost immediately after its premiere, Minions: The Rise of Gru has been the subject of several trends on the short-form video sharing service TikTok. This immense popularity on social media instantly translated into record-breaking box-office numbers, further proving that digital marketing in the entertainment industry could definitely make or break films. Here is an explanation of how the Super Bowl record-breaking Minions: The Rise of Gru harnessed the expansive influence of Tiktok to its advantage.

What Is The Minion Cult?

Tiktok has been the home of wildly popular trends, challenges, and viral content in the last few years; as such, it continues to gain and retain millions of users. A trend that consistently appears in the app involves its members joining a “cult,” but while the word “cult” induces feelings of fear or negativity, TikTok cults are basically harmless. They only require their members to have the same profile pictures and display names, which are often related to a specific meme or fanbase. Previous TikTok cults include the Hamster Cult and Lana Cult, which obliged their members to change their profile pictures into the Staring Hamster meme and the smiling selfie of American singer Lana del Rey with a burning car in the background, respectively.


The popularity of these adorable yellow creatures that originated from the Despicable Me movies has given birth to another cult on the online platform, the Minion Cult. TikTok users intending to participate in this trend must change their profile pictures to the same image of a Minion-dressed person holding the sun, which can easily be obtained by screenshotting a video that features the photo in full. They must also include something Minion-related in their display names, follow fellow cult members, and flood the comment sections of relevant clips with the banana emoji, symbolizing the Minions’ favorite snack. This movement resulted in TikTok users reporting an impressive follower gain and interaction overnight, encouraging more people to hop in on the trend.


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How Yeat’s “Rich Minion” Song Started The TikTok Minions Craze

The TikTok craze surrounding the second Minions, which defeated Lightyear at the box office, can be traced back to Yeat’s “Rich Minion” song. The three-minute catchy collaboration, which plays in the background of viral clips and even in actual theaters, does not only feature the vocals of the 22-year-old American rapper. It also includes actual Minions singing nonsensical yet hilarious words, such as “La bastichi, la papaya, du la potato.” The song also sees Yeat call the Minions his children before he brags about counting the millions he received from the song. Because of these, although it is not actually a part of the Minions: The Rise of Gru official soundtrack, “Rich Minion” rapidly became an Internet phenomenon.


RELATED: Does Minions: The Rise Of Gru Have An After Credits Scene?

Illumination first approached Lyrical Lemonade founder Cole Bennett to create a song appropriate for the Minions trailer. Thanks to Bennett’s professional relationship with Yeat, a collaboration was created. Yeat, who gained steady popularity on TikTok for his songs including ​​”Gët Busy,” has already established a solid following. This, combined with the presence of online favorite Minions, is surely a recipe for virality.

The GentleMinions Trend Explained: Why People Wear Suits To See Rise Of Gru

On June 28, 2022, Australian teenager Bill Hirst posted a TikTok video of him and his friends wearing suits to a Minions: The Rise of Gru screening. The clip, which featured Yeat’s “Rich Minion” in the background, showed young men dressed in formal wear lining up in the theater, watching the film with their fingers steepled, and loudly cheering to the Illumination logo. Hirst said the idea came from the suggestion of fellow TikTokers, but their nostalgia over the Despicable Me franchise pushed them to do it. Their choice of clothing was also in reference to Gru’s signature dark suit seen throughout the films. Over the 4th of July weekend, the Tiktok video went viral, and as of writing, it already amassed more than 35 million views and almost 9 million likes.


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The trend then inspired teenagers — so-called GentleMinions — to do the same. Unfortunately, some theaters have reported disruptive behaviors from these GentleMinions, with some moshing in front of the screen and others sneaking in hundreds of pounds of bananas and throwing them inside the cinema. What started out as a harmless joke that capitalized on the ridiculousness of seeing an animated film in smart attire became upsetting to some viewers unaware of the recent craze.

How Much Is Minions: The Rise Of Gru’s Success Thanks To Social Media?

Thanks to the ubiquitous influence of social media, Minions: The Rise of Gru has secured box-office success. In just a week, the movie has already grossed $258.3 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of 2022 so far. With a total of $123.1 million on its four-day opening weekend, Rise of Gru exceeded its box-office projections and even broke the Independence Day weekend record, surpassing 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In international markets, especially in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Venezuela, the movie had the biggest opening weekend for an animated film in history. While this record-breaking commercial success of Minions: The Rise of Gru can largely be attributed to the circulating TikTok trends, it is also due to Minions’ consistently active social media team and the genius collaborations the studio made with popular brands and influencers.


NEXT: Everything We Know About Minions 3

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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