One Saturday morning in 2015, I was invited to a screening of an animated film. It was a happy family with some other critics. The studio showed a trailer for “Minions”, Universal’s new spinoff that is based on characters from “Despicable Me” before the film started.
I have never seen an audience so excited in my entire life. The auditorium erupted with laughter and applause. I could see children all around me bouncing on their seats and screaming in delight. They refused to settle down after the trailer ended. The actual feature began with a boy in front of the camera who seemed to be speaking for the entire room. He screamed at the top his lungs, “I WANT MINES!”
The boy got his wish quickly. The first “Minions,” which featured the pill-shaped, yellow humanoids wearing blue overalls and goggles that children find irresistible was a success. It earned more than $1 billion worldwide.
The box office record for Independence Day weekend was broken by the second movie, “Minions: The Rise of Gru”. Minions merchandise is everywhere.
On social media, they are a leading figure in TikTok trends, and a favorite of Boomer-beloved memes. Zack Kotzer, a writer, has persuasively argued that Universal’s permissive attitude towards copyright enforcement helped Minions reach cultural saturation.
The Minions were bit players in their initial screen appearance in “Despicable Me,” (2010). Steve Carell played Gru, the world’s most powerful supervillain. He relies on his army blundering aids — such as evil Oompa Loopas — to manage his lair.
Pierre Coffin, one of the film’s directors, stated to The Guardian that the Minions were “completely accidental” — originally designed as thuggish, burly minions, they were later reimagined into “subterranean mole-type creatures” by The Guardian after it was determined that Gru might be more friendly and less intimidating if he had a less frightening design.
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