Twister (1996 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theatrical release poster with original release date
Directed byJan de Bont
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyJack N. Green
Edited byMichael Kahn
Music byMark Mancina
Distributed byWarner Bros. (North America)
Universal Pictures (through United International Pictures; International)
Release date
  • May 10, 1996 (1996-05-10)
Running time
113 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$88–92 million[2][3]
Box office$495.7 million[3]

Twister is a 1996 American disaster film directed by Jan de Bont from a screenplay by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. It was produced by Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy, and Ian Bryce, with Steven Spielberg, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, and Gerald R. Molen serving as executive producers. The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Todd Field, and Jeremy Davies as a group of amateur but spirited storm chasers trying to deploy a tornado research device during a severe outbreak in Oklahoma. Twister was released in theaters on May 10, 1996. It is notable for being among the first films to be released on DVD in the United States.

Twister grossed $495 million worldwide and became the second-highest-grossing film of 1996; it sold an estimated 54.7 million tickets in the United States. It received generally positive reviews from critics and received Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound. A sequel, Twisters, is scheduled for a July 2024 release.


On an Oklahoma farm in 1969, young Jo, her parents, and their dog, take shelter from an F5 tornado that ultimately destroys their farm and kills Jo's father. Twenty-seven years later, Jo is a tornado-obsessed meteorologist who leads a rag-tag team of storm chasers. Jo's estranged husband, Bill Harding, an ex-storm chaser turned TV weatherman, travels to Oklahoma with his fiancée, Melissa Reeves, a therapist, to ensure that Jo signs their divorce papers. Jo had used the papers to lure Bill back and show him the realized "Dorothy", a capsule-like device containing hundreds of small weather sensors that he conceptualized. Dorothy could revolutionize tornado research and potentially provide an earlier storm-warning system, but the device must be deployed dangerously close to a tornado to work. Jo's team rushes off to chase a developing storm, failing to sign the divorce papers and forcing an intrigued Bill, with Melissa along for the ride, to follow them into the gathering storms.

Along the way, Bill encounters Jonas Miller, a rival storm chaser and former colleague with corporate funding who stole Bill's idea for a Dorothy-like device. Jonas plans to deploy his version first to receive sole credit. Enraged, Bill agrees to accompany Jo and the team for one day to successfully launch Dorothy. As the team pursues a developing rope tornado, Jo's truck runs into a ditch. Jo and Bill hide under a bridge as the tornado destroys the vehicle, a tractor, a small footbridge, and one of the four Dorothy prototypes. With more storms developing, Bill leads the team in his truck, chasing an intensifying F2 tornado in the countryside. They encounter Jonas's team just as Bill accurately predicts a sudden change in the tornado's path and diverts their course. While driving through water-filled fields, two waterspouts form, with one of them splitting into two, and violently thrash the vehicle before dissipating. Bill and Jo are unscathed, though Melissa is traumatized.

The team visits Jo's Aunt Meg in nearby Wakita to eat. While there, Bill tells Melissa about Jo's childhood trauma. Meanwhile, Meg implies to her niece that Bill and Jo still love each other. The team then scrambles to chase a developing twister. Jo and Bill intercept a violent F3 tornado with highly unpredictable movements. It knocks over powerlines that crush Dorothy II. With the truck damaged, Bill forces them to retreat, but Jo undergoes an emotional breakdown over the failure, and argues about her motivations, her past, and her father's death. Bill admits his feelings for Jo, unaware that Melissa is overhearing their entire conversation through the CB radio.

The team overnights in a small town to repair their vehicles. While there, Jo signs the divorce papers to assuage Bill's conflicted feelings. The surprise appearance of a night-time F4 wedge tornado forces the team and many other people into a garage for protection. The tornado obliterates a drive-in theater, destroys two team vehicles, and injures several people before proceeding directly toward Wakita and Aunt Meg. Before the team rush to Wakita, Melissa amicably ends her and Bill's relationship, encouraging him to reunite with Jo.

The tornado sirens provided little warning time, leaving Wakita in ruins and flattening Meg's house. The team rescues the slightly injured Meg, who urges Jo to continue her research to improve warning systems. The National Severe Storms Laboratory forecasts a potentially record-breaking tornado will form the next day. Inspired by Meg's large wind-vane sculptures, Bill and Jo add aluminum "wings" to the last two Dorothy prototype sensors, making them more aerodynamic.

True to the forecast, a massive, mile-wide F5 tornado forms the next day, and the team pursues it. Bill and Jo attempt to place Dorothy III in its path; however, the device is knocked over and destroyed by an airborne tree. Meanwhile, Jonas attempts to deploy his own weather-reading device, ignoring Bill and Jo's warnings that the tornado is changing direction and headed straight at them. As a result of his negligence, Jonas' truck is swept away in the tornado's winds and thrown back to the ground, killing him and his assistant. With the last remaining Dorothy affixed to the truck bed, Bill and Jo drive directly at the tornado, then jump out, sacrificing Bill's truck to ensure Dorothy IV can properly release its probes into the wedge. The gambit is successful, as Dorothy IV's probes provide immediate scientific data, but without their truck, Jo and Bill are forced to run on foot as the tornado shifts toward them. Inside a nearby pumphouse, they strap themselves to deep pipes, getting a close view as the building rips away and the F5's core passes over them. After the tornado dissipates, the team celebrate their success and Jo and Bill reconcile.



Development and writing[edit]

Twister was produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, with financial backing from Warner Bros. Pictures and Universal Pictures.[1] In return, Warner Bros. was given the North American distribution rights, while Universal's joint-venture distribution company, United International Pictures (UIP), obtained international distribution rights.[1][4]

Spielberg himself was originally attached to direct the project, and directors such as James Cameron, John Badham, Tim Burton, and Robert Zemeckis were also in talks to helm the film before Jan de Bont signed on to Twister after leaving Godzilla due to creative differences.[5] He recently had a huge hit with his first film, Speed, which was released in 1994. The Dutch filmmaker's resume as a director of photography had included Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, and Lethal Weapon 3.[6] Helen Hunt chose not to play Terry Carmichael in Broken Arrow, and instead played Jo Thornton-Harding after Laura Dern declined on playing that role.[7] Tom Hanks read for the part of Bill Harding but passed on the film and suggested that Paxton try for the role.[8]


The production was plagued with problems; Joss Whedon was brought in to rewrite the script through the early spring of 1995. When Whedon contracted bronchitis, Steven Zaillian was brought in to work on revisions. Whedon later returned and worked on revisions through the start of shooting in May 1995, then left the project after he got married. Two weeks into production, Jeff Nathanson was flown to the set and worked on the script until principal photography ended.[5] After the Oklahoma City bombing occurred on April 19, 1995, filming of Twister was suspended while the cast and crew worked with relief efforts.[9]

Filming was to originally take place in the United Kingdom and California, but De Bont insisted the film be shot on location in Oklahoma, because he felt that Twister could be "the last great action movie not shot on a soundstage".[10] Shooting occurred all over the state; several scenes, including the opening scene where the characters meet each other, and the first tornado chase in the Jeep pickup, were filmed in Fairfax and Ralston, Oklahoma.[11] The scene at the automotive repair shop was filmed in Maysville and Norman. The waterspout scenes were filmed on Kaw Lake near Kaw City. The drive-in scene was filmed at a real drive-in theater in Guthrie, though some of the scene, such as Melissa's hotel room, was filmed in Stillwater near the Oklahoma State University campus. The films played at the drive-in theater were The Shining and Psycho as part of the Night of Horrors combo.[12]

The real town of Wakita – serving as the hometown of Lois Smith's character, Meg, in the film – was used during filming, and a section of the older part of town was demolished for the scene, showing the aftermath of the F5 tornado that devastates the town. This location was selected after scouts discovered leftover debris from a major hailstorm that occurred two years earlier in June 1993. Most of the residents signed up as extras and were paid $100 per day.[13] Additional scenes and B-roll were filmed near Ponca City and Pauls Valley, among several other smaller farm towns across the state.[14] However, due to changing seasons that massively transformed the look of Oklahoma's topography, filming was moved to Iowa. The climactic scene with the F5 tornado was almost entirely shot around Eldora, Iowa, with the cornfield the characters run through located near Ames.[15][16]

Halfway through filming, both Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt were temporarily blinded by bright electronic lamps used to make the sky behind the two actors look dark and stormy. Paxton remembers that "these things literally sunburned our eyeballs. I got back to my room, I couldn't see". To solve the problem, a Plexiglas filter was placed in front of the beams. The actors took eye drops and wore special glasses for a few days to recuperate. After filming in a particularly unsanitary ditch (for the first tornado chase scene, in which Bill and Jo are forced to shelter from an approaching F1 tornado under a short bridge), Hunt and Paxton needed hepatitis shots. During the same sequence, Hunt repeatedly hit her head on a low wooden bridge, so exhausted from the demanding shoot that she stood up so quickly her head struck a beam. During one stunt in which Hunt opened the door of a vehicle speeding through a cornfield, she momentarily let go of the door and it struck her on the side of the head. Some sources claim she received a concussion in the incident. De Bont said, "I love Helen to death, but you know, she can be also a little bit clumsy". She responded, "Clumsy? The guy burned my retinas, but I'm clumsy ... I thought I was a good sport. I don't know ultimately if Jan chalks me up as that or not, but one would hope so".[5]

Some crew members, feeling that De Bont was "out of control", left the production five weeks into filming. The camera crew led by Don Burgess claimed De Bont "didn't know what he wanted till he saw it. He would shoot one direction, with all the equipment behind the view of the camera, and then he'd want to shoot in the other direction right away and we'd have to move [everything] and he'd get angry that we took too long ... and it was always everybody else's fault, never his". De Bont claims that they had to schedule at least three scenes every day because the weather changed so often, and "Don had trouble adjusting to that".[5]

When De Bont, in a fit of rage, knocked over a camera assistant who missed a cue, Burgess and his crew walked off the set, much to the shock of the cast. They remained in place for one more week until Jack N. Green's crew agreed to replace them. Two days before principal filming ended, Green was injured when a hydraulic house set (used in the scene in which Jo and Bill rescue Meg and her dog from her tornado-destroyed home in Wakita), designed to collapse on cue, was mistakenly activated with him inside it. A rigged ceiling hit him in the head and injured his back, requiring him to be hospitalized. De Bont took over as his own director of photography for the remaining shots.[5]

Because overcast skies were not always available, De Bont had to shoot many of the film's tornado-chasing scenes in bright sunlight, requiring Industrial Light & Magic to more than double its original plan for 150 "digital sky-replacement" shots.[5] Principal photography was originally given a deadline to allow Hunt to return to film the fourth season of her NBC sitcom Mad About You, but when shooting ran over schedule, series creator and actor Paul Reiser agreed to delay the show's production for two-and-a-half weeks so Twister could finish filming. De Bont insisted on using multiple cameras, which led to the exposure of 1,300,000 feet (400,000 m) of film, compared to the usual maximum of 300,000 feet (91,000 m).[5] The tornadoes in the film were not real, but were instead computer-animated.[17] To compose the sound effects of these twisters, De Bont had recorded a variety of combined sound effects, including lion roars, tiger growls, camel moans, and jet-engine wooshes.[18] Other special effects that were animated with CGI included telephone poles, trees, trucks, tractors, and whole houses. The crew used a Boeing 707 airplane engine and smaller fans to generate wind throughout the film.[18] The CGI cow was originally a CGI zebra from the 1995 film Jumanji.[19]

Post production[edit]

De Bont claimed that Twister cost close to $70 million, of which $2–3 million went to the director. Last-minute reshoots in March and April 1996 (to clarify a scene about Jo as a child) and overtime requirements in post production and at ILM, are thought to have raised the budget to $90 million.[5] During post production of Twister, Spielberg took over directing duties on Minority Report instead of The Haunting.[20]


Twister was acclaimed for its impressive special effects, resulting in Oscar nominations for both its sound and visuals.


Originally, Twister was set to be released on May 17, 1996. Warner Bros. eventually made the decision to push forward its release date to May 10, 1996 in order to avoid competition with Paramount's Mission: Impossible two weeks later.[21] The premiere took place at the AMC Penn Square 10, then known as General Cinema Theatres at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City a day prior on May 9, 1996. Jan de Bont, Bill Paxton, and Helen Hunt were at the mall for interviews.[22] The film would go on to receive a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America due to "intense depiction of very bad weather".[23]

Home media[edit]

Twister was released on LaserDisc and VHS by Warner Home Video on October 1, 1996. It was the division's first home video release to be THX certified.[24] A widescreen VHS release became available at the same time.[25] There is a message by James Lee Witt, the then-head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the end of the film.[26] By November 1996, it topped the number one spot in Billboard's top sales.[27] The film was released on DVD on March 26, 1997 and is considered to be the first film to be released on DVD in the United States.[28][better source needed] The DVD release occurred eleven days before Twister made its United States pay-cable debut on HBO on April 5, 1997.[29] Twister was then released on VHS by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment through CIC Video in the UK on March 10, 1997, and July 14, 1997.[citation needed]

The film was released on DVD once again on June 6, 2000.[30] Special features on this release include an audio commentary by Jan De Bont and Stefen Fangmeier to listen throughout the film, behind-the-scenes footage and a Van Halen music video.[31] Eight years later on May 6, 2008, a two-disc special edition DVD and Blu-ray were released.[32] An HD DVD was then released on May 27, becoming one of the last HD DVDs to be ever released.[33]


Twister featured both a traditional orchestral film score composed by Mark Mancina, and a soundtrack of rock-music singles, many of which were exclusive releases for the film. Both the soundtrack and the orchestral score featured an instrumental theme song ("Respect the Wind") composed and performed for the film by Alex and Eddie Van Halen. The film's music was released on CD and cassette tape formats.

Twister: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack[edit]

Twister: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
LabelWarner Bros. Records
1."Humans Being"
Van Halen5:10
2."Virtual Reality"Michael GlabickiRusted Root3:23
3."Talula" (BT's Tornado Mix)Tori AmosTori Amos3:43
4."Moments Like This"Alison Krauss & Union Station4:58
5."Darling Pretty"Mark KnopflerMark Knopfler4:27
6."Miss This"Dave PirnerSoul Asylum3:56
7."Broken"Tanya DonellyBelly4:03
8."Love Affair"k.d. lang4:41
9."How"Lisa LoebLisa Loeb & Nine Stories3:52
10."Melancholy Mechanics"Red Hot Chili Peppers4:31
11."Long Way Down" (Remix)John RzeznikGoo Goo Dolls3:29
12."No One Needs to Know"Shania Twain3:05
13."Twisted"Stevie NicksStevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham4:13
14."Respect the Wind"
  • A. Van Halen
  • E. Van Halen
Eddie & Alex Van Halen5:49

Also, some other music is used, such as Deep Purple's "Child in Time" (heard when the team takes the road at the beginning and the assistant maximizes the volume in his truck). It is later in the scene mixed and beat-synced with "William Tell Overture". The song queued up on a TV in Dusty's van is Eric Clapton's "Motherless Child".

Twister: Motion Picture Score[edit]

Twister: Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by
GenreFilm score
LabelAtlantic Classics
ProducerMark Mancina
Mark Mancina chronology
Money Train
Twister: Motion Picture Score
Moll Flanders

All tracks are written by Mark Mancina, except where noted

1."Oklahoma: Wheatfield" 1:19
2."Oklahoma: Where's My Truck?" 0:19
3."Oklahoma: Futility" 2:14
4."Oklahoma: Downdraft" 1:46
5."It's Coming: Drive In" 2:37
6."It's Coming: The Big Suck" 1:09
7."The Hunt: Going Green" (feat. Trevor Rabin on guitar) 2:48
8."The Hunt: Sculptures" 3:03
9."The Hunt: Cow" 5:37
10."The Hunt: Ditch" 1:27
11."The Damage: Wakita" 5:02
12."Hailstorm Hill: Bob's Road" 2:09
13."Hailstorm Hill: We're Almost There" 2:58
14."F5: Dorothy IV" 1:47
15."F5: Mobile Home" 4:38
16."F5: God's Finger" 1:46
17."William Tell Overture / Oklahoma Medley," (featuring Wendle Josepher and Todd Field on vocals)1:05
18."End Title / Respect the Wind" (feat. Eddie and Alex Van Halen)
  • Alex Van Halen
  • Edward Van Halen

Some orchestrated tracks were in the film, but were not released on the orchestral score, most notably the orchestrated introduction to "Humans Being" from when Jo's team left Wakita to chase the Hailstorm Hill tornado. Other, lesser-known tracks omitted include an extended version of "Going Green" (when first meeting Jonas) and a short track from when the first tornado is initially spotted.

Twister: Expanded Archival Collection[edit]

Twister: Motion Picture Score (Expanded Archival Collection)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJanuary 17, 2017 (2017-01-17)
GenreFilm score
LabelLa La Land Records
ProducerMark Mancina

In January 2017, La-La Land Records released a limited-edition, remastered, and expanded album[34] containing Mark Mancina's entire score plus four additional tracks.

All tracks are written by Mark Mancina, except where noted

1."Wheatfield" (Film Version) 1:26
2."The Hunt Begins" 3:51
3."The Sky" 1:03
4."Dorothy IV" (Film Version) 1:56
5."The First Twister" 0:49
6."In the Ditch / Where's My Truck?" 2:00
7."Waterspouts" 2:49
8."Cow" 5:42
9."Walk in the Woods" 2:05
10."Bob's Road" 2:13
11."Hail No!" (Film Version) 2:43
12."Futility" 2:17
13."Drive-in Twister" 2:57
14."Wakita" (Film Version) 5:19
15."Sculptures" (Film Version) 3:06
16."House Visit" 4:47
17."The Big Suck" (Film Version) 1:47
18."End Title" 2:20
19."Wheatfield" (Alternate) 1:33
20."Waterspouts" (Alternate) 2:50
21."The Big Suck" (Alternate) 1:13
22."End Title / Respect the Wind" (feat. Eddie & Alex Van Halen)
  • Alex Van Halen
  • Edward Van Halen


Box office[edit]

Twister opened on May 10, 1996, earning $41.1 million from 2,414 total theaters during its opening weekend, and ranked in the number-one spot at the North American box office, taking the spot from The Craft.[35] Upon its release, it topped The Birdcage to have the biggest 1996 opening.[36] At that time, it had the sixth-largest opening weekend of any movie, behind The Lion King, Batman, Batman Returns, Jurassic Park, and Batman Forever.[37] Moreover, the film had the largest May opening weekend, dethroning both Lethal Weapon 3 and The Flintstones.[38] The success of Twister helped the blockbusters of May officially begin the summer season. It would follow similar openings of Deep Impact in 1998 and The Mummy in 1999. Two years later in 2001, The Mummy Returns set a new precedent for the frame by unleashing an opening weekend of $68.1 million. Then in 2002, Spider-Man took the summer starter films to the next level with its $114.8 million opening weekend.[39][40]

During its second weekend, Twister managed to top Flipper with an additional $37 million.[41] It was ranked as the second-highest-grossing second weekend at the time, after Jurassic Park.[42] The film suffered a 10% second-weekend drop, making it the smallest decline for a non-holiday film. For 15 years, Twister held that record until it was surpassed by DreamWorks' Puss in Boots in 2011.[43] By May 21, it reached the $100-million mark.[44] Not too long after, the number-one spot was taken by Mission: Impossible, putting Twister into second place. Like its predecessor, the film also had the largest May opening weekend.[45] It went on to hold this record until 1997, when it was taken by The Lost World: Jurassic Park.[46] As for Twister, it continued to stay in second place while beating out Dragonheart.[47] When The Rock was released that June, the film was put into third place.[48] It then approached $200 million by June 19, becoming the first film to do so since Forrest Gump.[49] Twister fell into fifth place shortly after the releases of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Eraser.[50] After Independence Day was released in July, the film crossed over Ghostbusters to become the 13th-highest domestic grossing film of all time.[51] It continued to dominate the box office, especially during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.[52]

After 12 weeks of release, the film had earned $231.3 million and had become 12th-highest domestic grosser, surpassing The Empire Strikes Back.[53] Twister went on to earn a total of $241.7 million at the North American box office, and a worldwide total of $494.5 million during its theatrical run. It became the second-highest-grossing film of 1996, behind Independence Day,[54] and was the 10th-highest-grossing film in history at the time of its release, making it the most successful Warner Bros. film release, surpassing Batman. In 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone took Twister's record for becoming the highest-grossing Warner Bros. film of all time.[37]

In China, Twister was the second-highest-grossing Hollywood film in the country, behind True Lies, making a total gross of CN¥54.5 million.[55]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% "Fresh" based on 71 reviews, and an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critics consensus read: "A high-concept blockbuster that emphasizes special effects over three-dimensional characters, Twister's visceral thrills are often offset by the film's generic plot."[56] On Metacritic, the film had a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[57] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[58]

Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "You want loud, dumb, skillful, escapist entertainment? Twister works. You want to think? Think twice about seeing it".[59] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Somehow Twister stays as up-tempo and exuberant as a roller-coaster ride, neatly avoiding the idea of real danger".[60] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating, and Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, "Yet the images that linger longest in my memory are those of windswept livestock. And that, in a teacup, sums up everything that's right, and wrong, about this appealingly noisy but ultimately flyaway first blockbuster of summer".[61] In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan wrote, "But the ringmaster of this circus, the man without whom nothing would be possible, is director De Bont, who now must be considered Hollywood's top action specialist. An expert in making audiences squirm and twist, at making us feel the rush of experience right along with the actors, De Bont choreographs action and suspense so beautifully he makes it seem like a snap."[62] Time magazine's Richard Schickel wrote, "when action is never shown to have deadly or pitiable consequences, it tends toward abstraction. Pretty soon you're not tornado watching, you're special-effects watching".[63] In his review for the Washington Post Desson Howe wrote, "it's a triumph of technology over storytelling and the actors' craft. Characters exist merely to tell a couple of jokes, cower in fear of downdrafts and otherwise kill time between tornadoes".[64]


Association Category Recipient Results
Academy Awards Best Sound Steve Maslow
Gregg Landaker
Kevin O'Connell
Geoffrey Patterson
Best Visual Effects Stefen Fangmeier
John Frazier
Henry LaBounta
Habib Zargarpour
BAFTA Awards Best Special Visual Effects Stefen Fangmeier
John Frazier
Henry LaBounta
Habib Zargarpour
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress - Action/Adventure Helen Hunt Won
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Film Music Award Mark Mancina Won
Cinema Audio Society Award Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Feature Films Steve Maslow
Gregg Landaker
Kevin O'Connell
Geoffrey Patterson
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100-Million Michael Crichton & Anne-Marie Martin Won
Worst Supporting Actress Jami Gertz Nominated
Golden Screen Awards Won
MTV Movie + TV Awards Best Female Performance Helen Hunt Nominated
Best Action Sequence For the truck driving through farm equipment Won
Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Visual Effects Stefen Fangmeier Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film Nominated
Best Actress Helen Hunt Nominated
Best Actor Bill Paxton Nominated
Best Special Effects Stefen Fangmeier
John Frazier
Henry LaBounta
Habib Zargarpour
The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Picture Nominated
Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing Over $100M Worldwide Won
Worst Supporting Actress Jami Gertz Won


On May 24, 1996, a tornado destroyed Screen No. 3 at the Can-View Drive-In, a drive-in theater in Thorold, Ontario, which was scheduled to show Twister later that evening, in a real-life parallel to a scene in the film in which a tornado destroys a drive-in during a showing of the film The Shining.[65] The facts of this incident were exaggerated into an urban legend that the theater was actually playing Twister during the tornado.[66]

On May 10, 2010, the 14th anniversary of the film's U.S. release, a tornado struck Fairfax, Oklahoma, destroying the farmhouse where numerous scenes in Twister were shot. J. Berry Harrison, the owner of the home and a former Oklahoma state senator, commented that the tornado appeared eerily similar to the fictitious one in the film. He had lived in the home since 1978.[67]

Bill Paxton later narrated storm chaser Sean Casey's 2011 documentary Tornado Alley. After the death of Paxton in February 2017, hundreds of storm chasers and users of the Spotter Network used their markers to spell out his initials across the states of Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma in tribute to the actor, citing that the movie was the inspiration for many of them to pursue storm chasing and meteorology.[68]

A Twister museum in Wakita, Oklahoma, where many of the particularly destructive scenes of the movie were shot, contains various memorabilia and artifacts related to the film.[69]

In other media[edit]


On April 3, 1996, Sega Pinball released Twister, a pinball machine themed to the film. It features modes including Canister Multiball, Chase Multiball, Multibull, and more.[70]

Theme park attraction[edit]

Twister was used as the basis for the attraction Twister...Ride It Out at Universal Studios Florida, which features filmed introductions by Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt. The attraction opened on May 4, 1998, and closed on November 1, 2015, to make way for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.[71] In the windows of the New York facade lies a tribute to Twister...Ride it Out with references to the film and Bill Paxton.[72]

Book tie-in[edit]

The film's original screenplay, written by Crichton and then-wife Anne Marie Martin, was released as a mass-market paperback in conjunction with the film.[73]


In June 2020, a remake was announced to be in development from the original film's international distributor, Universal Pictures, with Joseph Kosinski in early negotiations to serve as director. Frank Marshall and Sara Scott were set to serve as producers on the project.[74] In June 2021, Helen Hunt expressed interest in developing a sequel to the original film.[75] The studio rejected Hunt's plans for writing and directing it, due to her character being killed off for the sequel.[76] It was later revealed that in 2020, Hunt had pitched a direct-sequel to the original film, with a script she co-authored with Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. She had intended to serve as director in addition to reprising her starring role in the cast, but the studio ultimately passed on their script.[77][78] She said in an interview, "I tried to get it made, with Daveed [Diggs] and Rafael [Casal] and me writing it, and all Black and brown storm chasers, and they wouldn't do it. I was going to direct it... We could barely get a meeting, and this is in June of 2020 when it was all about diversity. It would have been so cool".[79]

In October 2022, it was announced that the project will be repurposed into a legacy-sequel. Officially titled Twisters, the script was written by Mark L. Smith with a plot that revolves around Hunt's Dr. Joanne "Jo" Harding character, and the daughter that she had with Dr. William "Bill the Extreme" Harding (portrayed by Bill Paxton), who has also become a storm chaser like her parents. After Steven Spielberg read the script, his enthusiasm contributed to getting the project green-lit. The project will be a joint-venture production between Universal, Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin, with Universal handling US and Canadian distribution and Warner Bros. handling worldwide distribution.[80] Principal photography commenced on May 8, 2023.[81][82] The film is set to be released on July 19, 2024.[83]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Brennan, Judy (May 13, 1996). "'Twister' Blows Rivals Away". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Twister (1996)". Box Office Mojo., Inc. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Twister (1996) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  4. ^ Masters, Kim (June 15, 2016). "Steven Spielberg on DreamWorks' Past, Amblin's Present and His Own Future". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Daly, Steve (May 10, 1996). "The War of the Winds". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  6. ^ "A courtly manner is the calm facade for the intense director of 'Twister'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. May 12, 1996. p. 149. Archived from the original on May 12, 2023. Retrieved May 12, 2023 – via open access
  7. ^ "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About John Woo's Broken Arrow". October 8, 2021.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ Davis, Sandi (May 10, 1996). "Strong Wind Blows Actor Good Fortune "Twister" May Land Bill Paxton Star Roles". The Oklahoman. Retrieved August 21, 2023.
  9. ^ "'Twister' Crew Enjoys Clear Sky". The Oklahoman.
  10. ^ "Jan De Bont on Twister: "The Last Great Action Movie"". July 23, 2020.
  11. ^ "Where was Twister filmed - Discover the Twister film locations with filmaps". Filmaps. Archived from the original on November 27, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.[unreliable source?]
  12. ^ "'The Shining' in 'Twister'". April 16, 2018.[unreliable source?]
  13. ^ "15 Facts About 'Twister' That Don't Suck". May 9, 2016.
  14. ^ Stein, Deanne (February 26, 2017). "Oklahoma Town Remembers 'Twister' Star Bill Paxton". News 9. Archived from the original on November 27, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  15. ^ "From the archives: Iowa farmhouse played key role in 'Twister' blockbuster". Des Moines Register.
  16. ^ Schmith, Lucas Casey, Don (May 13, 2016). "LOCAL 5 ARCHIVE: 'Twister' scenes filmed in former WOI studio". WEAREIOWA. Archived from the original on November 27, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "Twister: Windy Blockbuster From 1996 With CGI". June 17, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "THE WIZARDS OF 'TWISTER'". May 10, 1996.
  19. ^ "10+ Tornado Movies — The Violence of Air — Creepy Catalog". August 12, 2020.
  20. ^ Taylor, Drew (November 5, 2020). "'The Haunting' Director Jan de Bont on Swapping Projects with Steven Spielberg and the State of Action". Collider. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  21. ^ "Morning Report: Quick Takes". Los Angeles Times. April 13, 1996. p. 54. Archived from the original on March 28, 2022. Retrieved March 28, 2022 – via open access
  22. ^ "'Twister' at 25: Let's go for a spin with stories about Wakita and storm chaser vehicle from shot-in-Oklahoma movie". May 12, 2021. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  23. ^ Wolgamott, L. Kent (May 10, 1996). "Film reaps the thrill of the whirlwind". Lincoln Journal Star. p. 35. Archived from the original on October 15, 2023. Retrieved October 15, 2023 – via open access
  24. ^ "Twister on video in October". The Leader-Post. August 8, 1996. p. 15. Archived from the original on September 30, 2023. Retrieved September 30, 2023 – via open access
  25. ^ King, Susan (August 16, 1996). "'Letterbox' Brings Wide Screen Home". Times Staff Writer. Los Angeles Times. p. 96. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023. Retrieved March 11, 2023 – via open access
  26. ^ "FEMA GOES HOLLYWOOD IN PATH OF 'TWISTER'". The Washington Post.
  27. ^ "The top 10 videocassette rentals, based on Billboard's survey..." United Press International. November 8, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  28. ^ "DVD Reviews - Twister (original & SE) - The Digital Bits".
  29. ^ "Ad for "Marcus Cable Free Preview Weekend"". The Tuskegee News. A. F. Henderson & Co. April 3, 1997. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  30. ^ "New DVD Editions Of "Interview With The Vampire," "Twister" And "Lethal Weapon" Series Lead Warner Home Video's 'Big Action' Debut Plus "Dirty Dozen Special Edition" VHS".
  31. ^ "'Cleo': Vadra's look at an unlived life". The San Francisco Examiner. June 3, 2000. p. 18. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023. Retrieved March 11, 2023 – via open access
  32. ^ "Twister: Special Edition Storming Back to DVD on May 6th". January 8, 2008.
  33. ^ "Twister: SE - Last HD DVD release for Warner?".
  34. ^ "film music | movie music| film score | TWISTER - Mark Mancina - Limited Edition". Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  35. ^ "Studios battle over screen space". The Macon Telegraph. May 17, 1996. p. 43. Archived from the original on October 15, 2023. Retrieved October 15, 2023. open access
  36. ^ "Twister' raises roof at box office". United Press International. May 13, 1996. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  37. ^ a b "'Twister': The Circumstances Of Its Blockbuster Success May Be Impossible To Replicate". Forbes.
  38. ^ "Twister' blows away field at U.S. box office". United Press International. May 12, 1996. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  39. ^ "'X2' Unites 3,741 Theaters in Record Bow". Box Office Mojo. May 1, 2003. Archived from the original on April 19, 2022. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  40. ^ "'Spider-Man' to Swing Into the Record Books". Box Office Mojo. May 3, 2002. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  41. ^ "'Twister' Sustains Box Office Momentum in 2nd Week". Los Angeles Times. May 20, 1996.
  42. ^ "'Lost World' stays on top of film list". The Olathe Daily News. June 3, 1997. p. 2. Archived from the original on September 18, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022 – via open access
  43. ^ "Box Office Report: Holdover 'Puss in Boots' Wins in Shocking Upset over Brett Ratner's 'Tower Heist'". The Hollywood Reporter. November 6, 2011.
  44. ^ "Twister' blows away field at U.S. box office". United Press International. May 20, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  45. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (May 28, 1996). "Cruise's Thriller Breaking Records". The New York Times. p. 15. Archived from the original on January 29, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  46. ^ Brennan, Judy (May 26, 1997). "'Lost World: Jurassic Park' Stomps Record for Openings". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 21, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  47. ^ "Mission' still in cruise control". United Press International. June 3, 1996. Archived from the original on February 28, 2022. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  48. ^ "The Rock' rolls at U.S. box office". United Press International. June 10, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  49. ^ "Writer stirs up trouble over "Twister' screenplay".
  50. ^ "Eraser' rubs out competition at U.S. box office". United Press International. June 23, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  51. ^ "Independence Day' posts huge 3rd day". United Press International. July 5, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  52. ^ "Independence Day' nears $200 million". United Press International. July 19, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  53. ^ "ID4' becomes 18th biggest seller". United Press International. July 26, 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  54. ^ "Rejected Twister 2 Story Killed Off Helen Hunt's Character". Screen Rant. June 14, 2021.
  55. ^ Papish, Jonathan (February 8, 2017). "China's All-time Highest Grossing Imports". China Film Insider. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  56. ^ "Twister (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on May 10, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  57. ^ "Twister Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  58. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Twister" in the search box). CinemaScore. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  59. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 10, 1996). "Twister". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  60. ^ Maslin, Janet (May 10, 1996). "Twister". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  61. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (May 24, 1996). "Twister". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  62. ^ Turan, Kenneth (May 10, 1996). "The Big Spin : 'Twister' Is Triumph for the Director, Stunt Players and Effects Wizards". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 7, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  63. ^ Schickel, Richard (May 20, 1996). "Twister". Time. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  64. ^ Howe, Desson (May 10, 1996). "Twister: Special Effects and Hot Air". Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  65. ^ "Tornado Destroys Twister Theater". Associated Press. May 22, 1996.
  66. ^ Steyn, Mark (May 24, 1996). "A Nobody in My Neck of the Woods". Daily Telegraph.Commentary at [1] Archived July 2, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  67. ^ Dinger, Matt (May 16, 2010). "Oklahoma farm used in film Twister devastated by real tornado in last weeks storm". Archived from the original on July 14, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  68. ^ "Storm Chasers Honor Bill Paxton With 'Twister' Tribute". Variety. February 26, 2017. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  69. ^ "The Twister Movie Museum | Wakita, OK – The Twister Movie Museum | Wakita, OK". Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  70. ^ "Twister Pinball Machine (Sega, 1996) - Pinside Game Archive". Archived from the original on December 28, 2020. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  71. ^ Surrel, Jason (October 27, 2015). "Jimmy Fallon to Get His Own Ride at Universal Orlando Resort in 2017". blog. Universal Orlando Resort. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  72. ^ "Universal Orlando pays tribute to Bill Paxton, 'Twister' attraction in new 'Jimmy Fallon' ride". March 2, 2017. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  73. ^ Twister: The Original Screenplay. Ballantine Books. May 14, 1996. ISBN 0345408330.
  74. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 24, 2020). "'Twister' Reboot in the Works at Universal With Joseph Kosinski Eyed to Direct (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety Media. Archived from the original on June 24, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  75. ^ Ryan Lattanzio (June 12, 2021). "Twister Sequel: Helen Hunt Pitched with Diverse Storm Chasers". IndieWire. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  76. ^ Adam Bentz (June 14, 2021). "Rejected Twister 2 Story Killed Off Helen Hunt's Character". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  77. ^ Sharf, Zack (April 12, 2023). "Helen Hunt's 'Twister 2' Got Rejected by the Studio for 'Potentially Shady' Reasons, Says Co-Writer Daveed Diggs". Variety. Retrieved April 12, 2023.
  78. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (April 12, 2023). "Daveed Diggs says the 'Twister' sequel he was developing with Helen Hunt didn't get made due to 'potentially shady' reasons". Insider. Retrieved April 12, 2023.
  79. ^ Sharf, Zack (April 12, 2023). "Helen Hunt's Twister 2 Got Rejected by the Studio for 'Potentially Shady' Reasons, Says Co-Writer Daveed Diggs". Variety. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  80. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 17, 2022). "The Dish: 'Twisters' Forecast For Spring Start As Universal, Amblin Finalize Director For Sequel". Deadline. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  81. ^ "Twister Sequel Casting for Extras Filming to Begin May 8th". April 28, 2023.
  82. ^ "Twisters Production Listing". Backstage. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  83. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (December 20, 2022). "'Twister' Sequel Sets Summer 2024 Release Date". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2022.

External links[edit]