Before hitting the big screen, M3GAN was a social media icon.

The killer android doll is the star of the movie «M3GAN,» which opened nationwide on Friday. But her TikTok-esque dance moves, which were highlighted in the movie’s trailer, made her a viral sensation months ago.

In it trailerM3GAN is seen dancing, swinging his arms, spinning, posing against a wall, and inexplicably doing an aerial somersault, to a remixed song of Taylor Swift’s «It’s Nice to Have a Friend.» to the disco hit «Walk the Night» by the Skatt Brothers.

The film was brought to life with the help of actress Amie Donald, who physically embodied the doll, as well as a combination of visual effects, animatronics and puppetry.

Donald, who has a background in dance, helped choreograph the dance, which has since exploded on platforms like TikTok and Twitter. As of Monday, the #M3GAN hashtag has over 954.4 million views and #M3GANDANCE has over 186.5 million views on TikTok.

Many on social media have also declared M3GAN a weird icon. Dancing M3GANs have become commonplace in events Where is the movie promoted? Some online are also sewing videos from M3GAN side by side with the viral dance «Wednesday» by Jenna Ortega.

«I wanted people to like it and enjoy it, but there’s no way I could understand the reaction we got,» director Gerard Johnstone told NBC News in a recent Zoom interview. «It’s unbelievable. My head is spinning.»

The film, written by Akela Cooper and based on a story by James Wan, follows newly orphaned Cady (played by Violet McGraw) after she goes to live with her robotic aunt Gemma (played by Allison Williams). Gemma presents Cady with her newly designed Model 3 Generative Android, also known as M3GAN, after Cady has trouble adjusting to her new life with Gemma. M3GAN and Cady become best friends until M3GAN becomes so overprotective of Cady that she turns murderous.

While dancing is about to become a fixture on TikTok, an app that built on the success of teenage girls and young women lip-syncing and dancing, Johnstone said the choreography for “M3GAN” was not created with the intention of becoming the next TikTok sensation.

The models perform the viral dance at a special screening of "M3GAN"
The models perform the viral dance at a special screening of «M3GAN» in New York on Wednesday.Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Universal Pictures archive

Johnstone, who said he is in a «self-imposed exile from social media,» spends no time on platforms like TikTok. But, as a filmmaker, she understands the role she plays in girls’ social lives and how elements of TikTok, like dancing, are bonding experiences for young women. He said that he wanted to incorporate that experience into the film’s narrative.

“There’s a scene early in the movie where M3GAN and Cady come together and just dancing is one of the things they do,” Johnstone said.

For the dance scene, Donald, who has a background in dancing, told the Los Angeles Times that Gerard instructed him to be «creepy but also a little bit distracting.»

People on the internet have actually found it creepy, distracting and extremely entertaining.

«All my TL are the gays who support M3gan», one person tweeted in October.

«‘The three clouds lifted3d for the cin3ma futur3 when I saw M3gan’ -Martin Scors3s3», one person tweeted.

Another person, tweeting in reference to a scene in the movie where M3GAN sings to Cady, wrote: «M3GAN alone will send Sia’s ‘Titanium’ to the top of the charts.»

Williams said the internet reaction has shown how well people understand the character.

“The memes, the copies of the dance, people just understood it in this way that I loved,” Williams said. Well-informed person. “And we thought, ‘OK, job done. They catch her. She belongs to them now. This is incredible.»

Over the weekend, many people flocked to theaters to see M3GAN dance on the big screen. The film grossed $30.2 million in the domestic market. box office. In rotten tomatoes, the film has a critic score of 93% with 167 reviews as of Monday. (“M3GAN” is distributed by Universal Pictures. NBC News and Universal Pictures are owned by NBCUniversal.)

Like other viral phenomena before it, M3GAN’s success on social media was a happy accident, something Johnstone didn’t see coming.

«I’m so grateful that she’s been welcomed, and she has an army of people who are willing to stand by her,» Johnstone said of M3GAN. «That is incredible».

He attributes some of the early praise for the film to social media buzz.

“A lot of the success of a movie depends on how it’s marketed,” Johnstone said. “I started doing trailers, doing TV trailers, so that was definitely a conscious thing in my mind: what are the parts that could be selected?”

Even with that in mind, Johnstone said he didn’t think M3GAN’s dance should be featured in the trailer.

“I really thought they gave away too much of the dance,” she said. «So it shows how much I know.»