Thank Social Media for Bringing Sharknado to a Theater Near You

In case you’re one of the sad, deprived few who missed SyFy‘s latest motion picture masterpiece, Sharknado, you may be wondering, “What exactly is a Sharknado?” Allow me to enlighten you: Despite the potentially misleading name, it is neither a shark that behaves like a tornado, nor a tornado that behaves like a shark, but is, in fact, a tornado that forms over the ocean, sucking countless man-eating fish into its swirling vortex and dropping them willy-nilly upon the streets of unsuspecting Los Angeles.

Upon viewing the film with friends, the first thing I did — once I had come down from an unprecedented fit of gleeful laughter, which began during the opening sequence and persisted through what is perhaps the greatest ending of any movie ever — was to share my transcendent experience with my social media friends and followers. And I was far from alone.

On the night it first aired (July 11), the campy action film generated 318,232 tweets during broadcast, and peaked at 5,000 tweets per minute, making it the most-tweeted TV program of the night. Helping to fan the wildfire was the participation of big-name Twitter-users like Wil Wheaton, who tweeted a Vine counting down to the premiere to his 2.4 million followers, and then proceeded to live-tweet the movie.

Another factor that contributed to the Twitter explosion, according to Twitter Data Editor Simon Rogers, was smart buzz generation, led by Syfy’s senior vice president of digital, Craig Engler. A few hours before the movie aired, Engler began retweeting what fans were saying about the movie on the official @Syfy Twitter account, and also issued a few Sharknado “warnings.”

Now, thanks to all the attention, the film will no longer be relegated to the small screen; on August 2 at 12:05 a.m. Sharknado will be shown at select theaters for a one-time-only cinematic experience. The midnight showings in more than 200 theaters will include never-before-seen Sharknado footage such as a behind-the-scenes featurette and a gag reel.

And what would the runaway success of a ridiculous movie be without a sequel? The second installment is set for a July 2014 TV release. And, hoping to continue the social media frenzy, SyFy is giving Twitter users the opportunity to name the future masterpiece.

I almost want to see Sharknado in theaters just for the outtakes — I mean, the whole movie was akin to a gag reel, so I’m curious to see what was removed…perhaps they cut all Tara Reid’s good acting?