By Melissa Fares
(Reuters) - Twitter lit up on Thursday with playful movie title puns targeted at Republicans, from "Tedtanic" to "Start Wars" to "Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class."
The hashtag #GOPMovies was buzzing on Twitter, with thousands tweaking classic movies titles as the hours counted down to the Republican presidential debate in Houston on Thursday night, the last before the Super Tuesday primaries.
The hashtag was tweeted out roughly 20 times per minute, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.
The trend took off late on Wednesday when Comedy Central's late-night show "@midnight" tweeted: "For all we know, #GOPMovies are our future! Check out these examples and give us your own!"
The show, hosted by Chris Hardwick, then tweeted a quip of its own: "Saving Paul Ryan," targeted at the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) followed with a tweet early on Thursday morning: "Ghostfilibusters," which received more than 100 "likes" and 50 retweets.
A Republican National Committee spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
This was the network's second big swipe at Republicans and pop culture in the last few months. In December, Hardwick and Comedy Central launched a similar hashtag, #GOPSongs, which went viral ahead of the Dec. 15 Republican debate in Las Vegas.
Many of Thursday's #GOPMovies posts took aim at Republican front-runner Donald Trump's controversial stance on immigration.
One Twitter user, Dani Fernandez (?@msdanifernandez), tweeted "Prove You're a Citizen, Kane," a twist on the 1941 film "Citizen Kane."
Eryn ?(@Eryn_NotErin) wrote: "Trump's WALL-E," a dig at the candidate's campaign promise to "build a great wall" on the U.S. southern border and have Mexico pay for it. The 2008 movie "WALL-E" is about the last robot on Earth.
Other tweets targeted GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
"The Passion of the Cruz," tweeted Jason Richter (@JasonRichter), tweaking the name of the 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ," which Mel Gibson directed.
Also poking fun at the Calgary, Alberta-born Texas senator, Victoria Aveyard (@VictoriaAveyard) morphed "12 Years a Slave," a 2013 release that won the Academy Award for best picture, into "12 Years A Canadian."
(Reporting by Melissa Fares; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)