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'Sharknado' movie creates social media whirlwind

“Sharknado,” Syfy's latest shlocky made-for-TV guilty pleasure, hit social media Thursday night like, a swirling cyclone of bloodthirsty fish.
By Meredith Blake Published: July 13, 2013

“Sharknado,” Syfy's latest shlocky made-for-TV guilty pleasure, hit social media Thursday night like, well, a swirling cyclone of bloodthirsty fish.

The latest offering from the minds who brought us “Dinoshark,” “Sharktopus” and “Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus,” “Sharknado” also benefited from the presence of at least two past-their-prime actors, starlet-turned-party-girl Tara Reid and “Beverly Hills 90210's” resident bro, Ian Zeiring. And, well, it's the summer and there isn't much else on.

The combination of an absurd yet self-evident premise, a clumsy portmanteau title, visual effects that would embarrass Ed Wood, and D-list stars proved to be the perfect storm for Twitter snarking. Seemingly everyone — or at least seemingly everyone related somehow to the media industry — used social media to weigh in on the campy spectacle.

“Lost” writer Damon Lindelof live-tweeted the movie, at one point joking, “I am going to write the Sharknado sequel and I am going to do it before Shaknado is over.” NBC's Chuck Todd observed, “I follow about a thousand folks. Every one of them tweeting about SharkNado.”

A brief glance at Twitter metrics (via the website Topsy) reveal just what a viral sensation “Sharknado” was Thursday night, seeming to arise from nowhere at precisely 9 p.m. EDT. It remains to be seen whether social media buzz translates into actual ratings. The preliminary Nielsen report indicates that in this case, it didn't, but more will be known later Friday when firmer numbers are released.

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Nearly 1.5M people watched movie

Almost 1.4 million people tuned into Syfy Thursday night to watch “Sharknado,” the movie about what happens when you combine a tornado and sharks.

The disaster film spoof, which stars Tara Reid and Ian Ziering, became a Twitter sensation — no doubt because of its hilarious title. There were 350,000 tweets about the movie — a big number for a television program.

While the numbers for the movie are solid, it is another example that Twitter activity doesn't always correlate with TV ratings.

However, all the tweets and free publicity from news outlets looking to generate traffic by writing about “Sharknado” will likely mean the movie will continue to get decent ratings when Syfy repeats it.

“Sharknado” wasn't just for kids. The median age for “Sharknado” viewers was 46.8, according to Nielsen.


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