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'Sharknado' sequel unleashes tornado of tweets

Fans of the eagerly awaited movie 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' took Twitter by storm during and after its debut.
Fans of the eagerly awaited movie 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' took Twitter by storm during and after its debut.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

On Thursday, July 31, Sydney Bucksbaum of E Online reported that the SyFy Channel original movie "Sharknado 2: The Second One" broke Twitter records previously held by Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Miley Cyrus. People in the greater Spokane area may not be aware that when the movie debuted on Wednesday, July 30, it more or less took over Twitter with thousands of comments about the movie being posted on the popular microblogging site.

Fans posted a mixture of serious comments, jokes and pictures to express their enthusiasm for the deliberately over-the-top film about a tornado that drops sharks on the people of New York City. People Magazine and Mashable were just two of many sources that shared their favorite tweets about the movie with their readers.

In the movie, a cavalcade of stars such as Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Kari Wuhrer, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Judd Hirsch are forced to deal with the shark infestation as all sorts of mayhem happens all over New York. Alex Magdaleno of Mashable gave some background that may help explain the appeal of the movie.

According to Magdaleno, "For the uninitiated, Sharknado's plot involves — yes, you guessed it — a tornado of sharks terrorizing Los Angeles. Sharknado 2 moved one the absurd meteorological disaster to the East Coast, wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting New York City.

"Much of the online discussion Wednesday night centered on an insane opening sequence, impressive cameos — featuring Kelly Ripa, Al Roker, Kelly Osbourne and Mark McGrath — and an absurdly catchy theme song that spells out the doom that is sharknado.

"When the first Sharknado premiered in July 2013, it generated 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak, and hit 387,000 social mentions. NBCUniversal later revealed that Sharknado was the most 'social program on all of television –- broadcast and cable –- as well as Syfy’s most social telecast ever.'"

Sharknado 2 also generated a significant amount of interactions on Twitter. Sandra Gonzalez of Mashable reported on Thursday, July 31, that tweets about the movie were seen far more often than tweets about other programs that aired on Wednesday.

According to Gonzalez, "The TV movie... generated an estimated 67 million Twitter impressions — a fancy way of saying how many times every Sharknado-related Tweet was seen — in the period three hours before and after its airing, according to social numbers from Nielsen. That's really big — and ahead of the night's second most social show, America's Got Talent, by about 65 million impressions."

Bucksbaum reported that the SyFy Channel has released data indicating that Sharknado 2 had 1 billion Twitter impressions. The film hit some other impressive milestones as well.

According to Bucksbaum, "Sharknado 2: The Second One pulled in killer ratings for its premiere last night, and blew some previous Twitter record-holders (like Kim and Kanye, and Miley Cyrus) out of the water. The highly-anticipated follow-up debuted to some seriously strong ratings, making it the channel's most watched original movie ever. That's not an exaggeration! Sharknado 2: The Second One premiered with 3.9 million total viewers and 1.6 million adults age 18-49, averaging 1.8 million adults age 25-54. That's nearly three times the ratings the original Sharknado movie earned.

"But that's not all: Sharknado 2: The Second One also broke some major records on Twitter—no surprise there. According to the network, the movie delivered one billion estimated impressions for Twitter conversations. ... At one point during the premiere, the SyFy flick held all top 10 trending topics in the United States, and there were more mentions of it on Twitter than #MileyCyrus during the 2013 MTV VMAs or #kimye on Kim and Kanye's wedding day. Those stats make Sharknado 2: The Second One the most social movie on TV ever."

According to Alex Heigl of People, Sharknado 2 also had more mentions on Twitter than The Lego Movie, Transformers 4, the most recent Godzilla movie and 22 Jump Street did on the nights of their premieres. Obviously, this says nothing about the quality of any of those films, but it does suggest that viewers were having a lot of fun talking with like-minded Sharknado enthusiasts.

People in the Spokane area who missed out on all the fun on Wednesday have more chances to get swept up in the Sharknado experience. According to Bucksbaum, the movie will air again on Saturday, August 2 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 3 at 9 p.m. In the meantime, people who haven't seen it yet should probably stay off Twitter if they want to avoid spoilers.