Photo by Syfy – © 2013 Syfy Media, LLC
Three weeks after its premiere, "Sharknado" is still raining down great whites and hammerheads for the U.S. cable television network Syfy - and even splashing them across movie screens at sold out midnight screenings.
The campy, low-budget TV disaster movie about a hurricane that unleashes an aerial shark attack on Los Angeles has proven that a B-movie can still be a big cult winner, especially when social media acts as its marketing machine. "Sharknado" also has attracted larger audiences in subsequent re-broadcasts, including 1.9 million on July 18 and 2.1 million on July 27.
The film has its lead characters attempt to save Los Angeles from "sharknados" with chainsaws and bombs as the killer fish eat their friends and destroy landmarks such as the Hollywood sign.
Syfy already has ordered a "Sharknado" sequel and although the film is not yet a month old, it is drawing comparisons to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," the 1975 cult classic that has made its mark as a midnight feature.
"Sharknado's" debut on July 11 drew an audience of about 1.4 million - slightly under Syfy's average for made-for-TV films - but it generated a significant 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak.
Director Anthony Ferrante says that the success of "Sharknado" on social media signals an entertainment industry game-changer.
"We created this nationwide experience where people sat at home, where the people don't do appointment viewing anymore, they decided they wanted to watch our movie, they wanted to engage with other people, and also engage with us," says Ferrante. "It's a game-changer and it's great that this happened to us because it was a movie that everybody really cared about."