TikTok has a history of making unlikely business ventures go viral, such as Purple Shampoo, Gua Sha, LED lights, or even songs such as THE ANXIETY’S “Meet Me At Our Spot”, which was out for months before TikTok found it and pulled it to the top of the charts. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” was TikTok’s next unlikely venture. It’s release came at the perfect time when theatres were just starting to open back up. And a 1.1 billion dollar box office return did not disappoint.
The film initially gained notoriety on TikTok with a song called “Rich Minion” by up-and-coming rapper Yeat, who collabed with studio partners to release the song with the movie’s trailer. The song starts out with minions talking amongst themselves in their iconic jargon-like language, followed by an immediate easygoing chorus. Its frisky manner creates a satirical but catchy vibe which is what people seem to be so drawn to.
Tiktok is known for giving this kind of attention to content that in any other context would be deemed as cringe-worthy. These trends that may be considered cringe are made ok by acting satirical towards them.
The first group to participate in the “Gentle Minions” trend were just leaving their school’s formal and decided to stay in their suits when going to see the movie. Using the Rich Minion sound to record themselves dressed up at the film, it became one of the most viral trends of the year. Many started to go to the film in an ironic sense, recording TikToks in their suits (or minion costumes) using the coined sound of the trend, Rich Minion.
Its apparent people are going to see the film for the experience rather than the content of the film itself. This might be bittersweet for traditional film lovers, but it’s phenomenal marketing, even if it wasn’t meant to be that way.
It seems that now with streaming services, you don’t need to venture out to see amazing movies, they’re right at the tip of our fingers. What makes people come out of their homes to see a film now is engagement. People feel connected to the movie, and part of a big joke that only the caught-up social media user would understand. It subverts our old way of courtesy towards films but creates a wonderful new base of genuine amusement and leisure, which is what filmmaking was originally all about.
TikTok’s overbearing influence on culture has turned the movie experience into a hopeful new endeavor. It’s known that theatres have been less and less visited, especially now in times of a pandemic, but this was an unexpected victory. It’s safe to say we will see a lot of marketing in these ironically trendy areas of the media such as TikTok in the future.