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Sharknado is a 2013 direct-to-TV disaster film about a tornado that lifts sharks out of the ocean and drops them in the city of Los Angeles. Largely due to its bizarre premise and B-movie appeal, the film drew heavy discussions in the social media upon its airing on the SyFy channel in July 2013.
In March 2013, film news site DeadCentral reported that American film director Thunder Levin would take on two new projects for The Asylum, a direct-to-video film studio best known for its low-budget mockbusters, AE: Apocalypse Earth and Sharknado. By April, the cast of the film had been officially announced, with Tara Reid (American Pie), Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210) and John Heard, (C.H.U) taking on the lead roles, and in May, several entertainment news sites took note of the film after a promotional poster was revealed at the 2013 Cannes film festival.
On July 10th, The Machinima YouTube channel released an exclusive trailer for the film (shown below), which gained more than 765,000 views within first 48 hours. On July 11th, at 9 pm (ET). Sharknado premiered on the SyFy channel.
Sharknado 2: The Second One
On July 7th, 2014, a trailer was released for the sequel Sharknado 2: The Second One (shown below). In the film, actors Tara Reid and Ian Ziering reprise their roles to battle against a new “sharknado” strike in New York City. The film is scheduled for release on the SyFy channel at 9:00 p.m. ET on July 30th, 2014. In an interview with Fox News 411, Ziering revealed that a third sequel had been “green-lit” by SyFy, adding that the channel may release a new sequel each summer.
The official Sharknado Facebook page was launched on November 3rd, 2012, over half a year before the TV premiere of the film on SyFy channel. As of July 2014, the page has received more than 54,000 likes. Following its airing on July 11th, 2013, a number of social media accounts and fan communities dedicated to the film soon followed suit, including @SharkNadoFilm on Twitter, /r/sharknado on Reddit and even its own encyclopedic entry on Wikipedia.
The film was met by sensational responses and intensive discussions in the social media, most notably on Twitter where mentions of Sharknado reached 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak. According to Nielsen, the premiere of the film was watched by 1.37 million viewers, slightly below the average audience of 1.5 million viewers for a typical SyFy feature film.
Entertainment Weekly – ‘Sharknado’ stirs up the perfect storm of online buzz
The Atlantic – Sorry, Twitter: ‘Sharknado’ Was an Enormous Ratings Bust