Sharknado 2 Creates Perfect Storm on Twitter

It's no surprise that Syfy original movie Sharknado 2: The Second One created a veritable Twitter maelstrom. Its predecessor, the franchise launching masterpiece Sharknado, instantly became a Twitter phenomenon when it aired last July, and fans have been eagerly awaiting the sequel ever since it was announced. We couldn't resist diving into the Sharknado frenzy and analyzing what made both films social media success stories. Using Canvs, we tracked the impact Sharknado 2's many celebrity cameos had on Twitter conversation. We also tested the waters to see how Sharknado 2 stacked up against the original.

Gale Force Celebrity Cameos

More than a dozen cameos ranging from Judd Hirsch as a taxi driver to Kelly Osbourne as a flight attendant drove viewers to Twitter. We found that Wil Wheaton was the most-mentioned of all celebrity cameo actors, garnering nearly 2,000 emotional reactions during the telecast.

In fact, Wheaton was reacted to more than lead cast members who had exponentially more screen time. The only actor who beat Wheaton's strong showing was Tara Reid, who garnered more than 7,000 reactions.

Morning show hosts also played a huge part in the twitter reaction whirlwind. Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Kelly Ripa, and Michael Strahan all played themselves, giving the citizens of New York updates during the EF5 Sharknado emergency. Roker led the pack in terms of  Twitter, with 901 tweets reacting to him by name and another 778 reactions directed at his handle, @alroker.

For more coverage of celebrity cameos in Sharknado 2, check out Canvs data from our editorial partner Lost Remote. 

(Storm) Tracking the Sharknado Franchise

Sharknado was a genuine cultural flashpoint, so we needed to see if Sharknado 2 was a worthy sequel. Using the compare feature in Canvs, we pitted the two Sharknados against each other to see which came out on top. In terms of overall volume, Sharknado 2 easily chomped the original with more than 580,000 mentions to Sharknado's 318,000+ tweets. Sharknado 2 also generated more reactions (131,318 vs. 81,484). The reaction rate of the two films, defined as percentage of tweets containing an emotion, was very close, with Sharknado edging out Sharknado 2 by 5% (25.6% to 22.6%).

We also analyzed the emotions expressed in each Sharknado. Here are some top insights from that analysis:

  • Sharknado 2 was funnier. 8.3% of reactions found Sharknado funny while 10.4% of Sharknado 2 reactions were “funny.”
  • Sharknado 2 fans knew what to expect. We saw a sizable decline in shocked viewers:  9.1% of Sharknado reactions said “WTF” compared to 7.4% for Sharknado 2.
  • Sharknados are reliably exciting: Viewers were only 0.5% more excited for Sharknado 2 than they were for Sharknado (6.0% vs 5.5%).
  • People preferred to "hate watch" the original. Canvs excels at tracking viewers who "love to hate" a program, and not surprisingly, hate watching was a common reaction among Sharknado aficionados, especially for the first movie: 5.2% of reactions to Sharknado said the movie was both the “best” and the “worst,” while 3.8% of Sharknado 2 reactions expressed the same feeling.

With Sharknado 3 already in the works, it's clear that this franchise hasn't yet jumped the shark. Check out the graphic below to tide you over until the next installment.

Sharknado 2 InfographicAdditional reporting by Shae Carroll and Stu Schwartzapfel.