Smitten with the mighty Minions
THEY have names like Larry, Dave and Kevin.
They love apples and shout things like "Poppadom!".
They're small, yellow, cylindrical and are stealing people's hearts after featuring in the Despicable Me films.
Yes, we're talking about the Minions, the mischievous henchmen of protagonist Gru.
And it's not just kids who are taken with them - young working adults, too, have been smitten by the irrepressible little characters.
Maybe it's the fact that the word "minion" has never before been represented by something so decidedly cute and contradictory.
Project manager Kenji Poh, 32, caught Despicable Me 2 on July 5, and was immediately hooked on the Minions. He said they are the best part of the film.
He told My Paper he was taken with "the crazy things they do, like their singing and dancing, especially to that YMCA song".
He was referring to a scene in the film where the Minions sing Village People's YMCA, in a language called "minionese".
The yellow creatures are earning raves from parents who have been introduced to the Minions, thanks to their kids.
Civil servant Shirley Chow, 40, took her two children, aged one and seven, to catch the movie on its opening weekend.
Although she knew the film would be "good family entertainment", she ended up raving about how cute the Minions are.
The characters have become a lucrative business entity.
According to distributor United International Pictures, Despicable Me raked in a total of $3.9 million when it screened in Singapore in 2010, while the current box-office gross for the second instalment, which opened on July 4, was more than $4 million as of last Wednesday.
The popularity of the Minions after the first film was so overwhelming that the promotion of the sequel was angled around the animated characters, with exclusive posters and trailers featuring their antics.
It's not just in box-office figures that they are a hit. There has also been a recent slew of merchandise tie-ups.
McDonald's launched a Minion-figurine promotion last Thursday for each Happy Meal purchased, while Toys "R" Us is selling talking Minion toys at $119.90 each.
The cylinder-shaped workers will be starring in their own movie, Minions, which is a spin-off to the Despicable Me movies and will be released next year.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JOCELYN TAN