Minion mania: A glimpse into the popularity of Despicable Me and its miniature minions

WITH the arrival of Minions in Australian cinemas this week, Trinity College Foundation Studies students Lynn Wang, Carl Lim, Joy He recap the films that made these little yellow critters famous and their ensuing popularity.

From collectible toys that caused a frenzy in Malaysia to mobile games and theme park rides at Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood, the popularity of the scene-stealing little yellow workers in  the Despicable Me series of films was proof enough that these creatures needed to have their own movie.

Minion-mania is very real and for many students, the upcoming animated feature aptly titled Minions is a film that is being hotly anticipated.

A majority of the students at Trinity College Foundation Studies we spoke to said they’ve seen the Despicable Me films and have fallen in love with these endearing creatures; representing a strong trend of young people who’ve gravitated towards the antics and misadventures of these bubbly yellow critters.

When asked about her reaction towards Despicable Me’s minion characters, one Trinity College student said the characters were her way of latching onto her childhood.

“[We] live our childhood lives through these amazing characters and the playfulness and [adorable quality] of the minions allow me to do just that.”

The Despicable Me spin-off will screen in Australian cinemas from June 18 and has minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob mixed up  in supervillain Scarlett Overkill’s (voiced by Sandra Bullock) plan for world domination. Set before the events of Despicable Me, Minions will feature the voices of Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton and is expected to be a massive hit with audiences old and young when it drops into cinemas this week.

To catch people up on the Minions craze, we take a look quick back at the two films that precipitated the world’s love for these tiny yellow workers.

Despicable Me

The first entry into the series that would spawn Minion madness was a critical success with reviewers and a massive hit with audiences. At the box office, it saw a worldwide gross of more than $540 million dollars. It scored well with critics with an 81% approval rating over at Rotten Tomatoes.

The film followed Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), a supervillain, who promises to steal the moon with the help of his minions and three adopted young girls after his arch rival outplays him by stealing the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Despicable Me 2 

Though scoring less favourably with the critics with 74% at Rotten Tomatoes, the sequel catapulted the series into further success in 2013 and received a worldwide box office gross of more than $970 million dollars, effectively making it one of the highest grossing animated features of all time (in good company with films such as Frozen and Toy Story 3).

After giving up his life of villainy and deciding to settle down as a father to Margo, Agnes and Edith, Gru is called back into action by the Anti-Villain League to capture the person responsible for the world’s most spectacular heist.

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