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Sharks flying through the air, caught in a tornado. In the background is a ferris wheel.
Theatrical release poster
Written by Thunder Levin
Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante
Theme music composer Ramin Kousha
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) David Michael Latt
Editor(s) William Boodell
Cinematography Ben Demaree=Jeremy Foden
Running time 85 minutes[1]
Production company(s) Syfy Films
Distributor The Asylum
Budget $2 million[2]
Original network Syfy
Original release
  • July 11, 2013 (2013-07-11)
Followed by Sharknado 2
Sharknado 3
Sharknado 4

Sharknado is a 2013 made-for-television disaster film about a waterspout that lifts sharks out of the ocean and deposits them in Los Angeles. It is the first installment in the Sharknado film series.[3][4] It first aired on the Syfy channel on July 11, 2013, and stars Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, and John Heard.[5] It was also given a one-night only special midnight theatrical screening via Regal Cinemas and NCM Fathom Events, where it took less than $200,000 in the box office across 200 screenings.[6][7] The film is followed by two sequels, Sharknado 2: The Second One and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!. The third sequel Sharknado 4 will air July 2016.[8]


A freak cyclone hits Los Angeles causing man-eating sharks to be scooped up in water spouts and flood the city with shark-infested seawater. Bar-owner and surfer Fin sets out with his friends, Baz, Nova, and George, to rescue his estranged wife, April, and their teenage daughter, Claudia, after the bar and boardwalk is destroyed in flooding. While heading to April's home, the group stops in a freeway to save people as flooding causes sharks to attack. George is killed and the group learns of a tornado warning. They arrive at April's house just before the first floor is flooded and shark-infested. Collin, April's boyfriend, is eaten by sharks, but the rest of the group escape unharmed.

Fin stops the car to save the children stuck in the bus from the assaulting sharks. Afterwards, the bus driver is killed by a piece of flying debris. While Nova is driving the car, a shark lands on top of the car and rips the roof off. Fin's hand is cut and the group abandons the car before it explodes. They steal another car and meet up with Fin and April's son Matt, who is found taking shelter at his flight school. As the tornado hits, his instructor is sucked out. They borrow equipment from a nearby storage and Matt and Nova become attracted to each other. Matt and Nova decide to stop the threat of the incoming "sharknadoes" by tossing bombs into them from a helicopter. Two are destroyed, but they are unable to stop the third one.

As Nova fights off a shark that had latched onto the helicopter, she falls out of the helicopter and directly into another shark's mouth. Matt is heartbroken. Baz is also lost in the storm along with two friends of Matt. Ultimately, Fin destroys the last sharknado with a bomb attached to his car and the sharks begin to plummet toward the ground. One falling shark flies directly toward the remaining members of the group. Fin jumps into its mouth with a chainsaw and cuts his way out. He emerges carrying an unconscious but otherwise unharmed Nova. Matt is reunited with Nova, and Fin gets back together with April.[9]


  • Ian Ziering as Finley "Fin" Shepard, an ex-surfer who owns a bar.
  • Tara Reid as April Wexler, Fin's ex-wife.
  • John Heard as George, a drunk man who spends all his time at Fin's bar.
  • Cassie Scerbo as Nova Clarke, a bartender who works for Fin.
  • Jaason Simmons as Baz, Fin's right-hand man.
  • Aubrey Peeples as Claudia Shepard, April and Fin's daughter who feels left out.
  • Chuck Hittinger as Matt Shepard, Fin and April's son in flight school.
  • Christopher Wolfe as Collin, April's boyfriend.
  • Robbie Rist as Robbie, a bus driver.
  • Julie McCullough as Jonni Waves, a news reporter.


Sharknado was directed for film studio The Asylum by Anthony C. Ferrante, whose previous directing credits include the horror film Boo, and written by Thunder Levin, whose previous writing credits include the film Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood!.[3] The film's tagline is "Enough said!"[10] Sharknado is one of many B-movies commissioned by Syfy.[11] Robbie Rist said in an interview that he came upon the film's poster at the American Film Market and became enthusiastic about the concept. When his friend Ferrante said that he had been approached to direct the film, Rist insisted that Ferrante take the job. Rist was given a small role in the film and composed the theme.[12]

Actress Tara Reid said of the film, "It is silly, and there's only a certain amount of barriers you could go into. You can't take it so seriously when it's absolutely the sharks flying in the sky. It's so out there that it's actually really funny." The cast had to imagine the presence of sharks due to a green screen being frequently in use.[13] Ian Ziering stated that he had serious reservations about the script but was motivated, in part, by the need to earn enough to qualify for Screen Actors Guild health insurance for his family.[14]

In an interview with Uproxx's Danger Guerrero, Ferrante summarized the film's plot: "There's a flood. And a storm. Don't worry about it."[15]


The premiere of the film was watched by 1.37 million viewers, which is slightly below the average audience of 1.5 million viewers for a typical Syfy original film.[11][16] The film was a trend on Twitter, including discussion by celebrities such as Damon Lindelof, Wil Wheaton, and Olivia Wilde and also by Cory Monteith, whose last tweet before his death was about the film. Due to an increase in publicity (mostly through Twitter), Syfy repeated Sharknado on Thursday, July 18, 2013, one week after its premiere. The airing was watched by 1.89 million viewers, an increase of 38% over its initial airing.[17] On July 27, a third airing of Sharknado got 2.1 million viewers, continuing the increase in popularity of the film and setting a record for most watched original film encore in Syfy history.[18] Sharknado is projected to increase revenue for The Asylum from $5 million in 2009 to $19 million in 2013.[19]

A representative of the National Weather Service jokingly recommended what to do in case of a sharknado, saying: "As with any waterspout or tornado, the best advice is to be in an interior part of the lowest floor of a sturdy building – and not outside, whether sharks are raining down or not."[3] Organizations such as the Red Cross of Oklahoma City also used the film as an opportunity to pass on storm safety information[20] while others incorporated it into their own advertising.[21]

Regal Cinemas announced that at midnight on August 2, 2013, it would play the film in roughly 200 theaters nationally.[22] Tickets sold out quickly in New York, Boston, and Seattle, where more showings were added to appease customer demand.[23] Box office numbers were weak for the midnight showings; estimates were at under $200,000.[24]

International broadcast[edit]

  • Australia – Premiere on the The Universal Channel was scheduled for September 9, 2013,[25] but was fast-tracked to premiere on July 26, 2013, after the film's wide international response.[26] It rated 54,000 viewers, making it the sixth most watched program for the night (and third most watched non-sport program) on subscription television.[27]
  • United Kingdom – Premiered on Syfy on August 7, 2013.[28]
  • New Zealand – Premiered on free-to-air television channel Prime on September 17, 2013.
  • Germany – Premiered on free-to-air Tele 5 television channel on January 10, 2014 as part of their "Worst films of all times" series.


Syfy and The Asylum announced in August 2013 that Sharknado merchandise would be made available, including T-shirts and potentially other products.[29] Funko acquired the licensing agreement to manufacture the POP Vinyl version of Sharknado [30]


Sharknado received positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 82% based on 17 reviews; the average rating is 6.1/10. The site's consensus states: "Proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless, Sharknado redefines 'so bad it's good' for a new generation."[31]

Reviewer Mary McNamara, writing for the Los Angeles Times, mentioned that the plot holes are "the whole point of movies like this: fabulous in-home commentary. Often accompanied by the consumption of many alcoholic beverages."[5] David Hinckley of the New York Daily News said "Sharknado is an hour and a half of your life that you'll never get back. And you won't want to."[31]

Kim Newman of Empire called the film "cynical rubbish, with an attention-getting title and just enough footage of terrible CG sharks in a terrible CG tornado chomping on people to fill out a trailer suitable for attracting YouTube hits."[32]

Sharknado has become a cult film.[33] The film was used for a Rifftrax Live event in July 2014, where former Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast members mocked the film for a live audience and broadcast to other theaters through NCM Fathom; the idea for using the film for this was prompted by the Sharknado producers discussing the film with Fathom at the same time.[34] Ferrante said after the event that "Being skewered by the MST3K guys was an honor."[35]


Promoters of Sharknado 2 at the San Diego Comic Con International in 2013

Syfy announced that they ordered a sequel to premiere in 2014, set in New York City,[36] and were running a Twitter contest to allow fans to choose the title for the new film.[37] It was announced on August 8, 2013, that the sequel would be titled Sharknado 2: The Second One.[38] The sequel premiered on July 30, 2014, and was the highest premiering film on the Syfy channel.[39]

In January 2014, Ian Ziering and Tara Reid were confirmed to reprise their roles for the sequel, along with the announcement of principal photography commencing on February 13, 2014 in order to make the previously announced Syfy channel premiere date in July. A third film, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, was scheduled for a 2015 release.[40] and eventually aired on July 22, 2015.

Although Sharknado 2: The Second One was made under union contracts, The Asylum refused to sign a union contract for the Sharknado 3 production. The crew voted to strike on March 3, 2015.

According to IATSE representative Vanessa Holtgrewe, Sharknado 2: The Second One was "the highest-rated original movie on SyFy ever. Asylum decided they weren't going to share the success this time around with the crew." Holtgrewe said the crew wants standardized working conditions, a pension and health benefits. Crew members from The Asylum’s non-union productions report that it often pays flat day rates for long hours that result in wages that are below the legal minimum wage.[41]

Asylum representative Scott Meehan issued a satirical statement in response to the strikers concerns: "We are happy to report that we have reached an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Selachimorpha, which represents the sharks in our film. We will be increasing the amount of chum at the craft services table and will no longer require our employees to sleep without moving."[42] In March 2015, Syfy confirmed a documentary film about the series.[43]

Archie Comics also released a story about Archie Andrews encountering a Sharknado leading up to the third film.[44]

Sharknado 3 was followed in three days by Lavalantula, which debuted July 25, 2015, the Saturday after Sharknado 3's Wednesday premier.[45] Lavalantula featured Sharknado's protagonist in a cameo wearing a white t-shirt with crossed chainsaws. This indicates that it takes place in a shared universe. As he says he has "shark problems right now", this may indicate that the events of Lavalantula take place just before or concurrently with Sharknado 3.

Sharknado 4 was confirmed to follow upon Sharknado 3's premiere.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 20 Worst Movies of 2013". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "'Sharknado' Cost: Syfy's Hit Movie Cost Two Million". Huffington Post. July 13, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Suebsaeng, Asawin (July 11, 2013). "Can a "Sharknado" Really Happen?". Mother Jones. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ Bianco, Robert (July 11, 2013). "TV tonight: 'Sharknado,' 'Summer Camp'". USA Today. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b McNamara, Mary (July 11, 2013). "'Sharknado' keeps TV real". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "‘Sharknado!’ Gets Midnight Screening Treatment Via Regal". Deadline Hollywood. July 26, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Box Office Report: 'Sharknado' Theater Experiment Lacks Bite". The Hollywood Reporter. August 4, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ "'Sharknado 3' Ending Tara Reid 'Sharknado 4'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  9. ^ Holmes, Linda (July 12, 2012). "'Sharknado' Dares To Ask: Is It Going To Rain Giant Man-Eating Sharks?". NPR. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ D, David (July 11, 2013). "Here’s The Full ‘Sharknado’ Trailer The Internet Has Been Waiting For". Uproxx. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Suddath, Claire (July 12, 2013). "Inventing 'Sharknado': Inside Syfy's Booming B-Movie Factory". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ Valcourt, Keith (2013). "From Cousin Oliver to Sharknado Robbie Rist Rocks!". Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  13. ^ Kepnes, Caroline (May 11, 2013). "Tara Reid on 'Sharknado': So Ridiculous and So Bad, It's Good!". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ Moraski, Lauren (December 20, 2013). "Ian Ziering on a "Sharknado" sequel, "Beverly Hills, 90210" reunion". CBS News. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ Guerrero, Danger (July 10, 2013). "Highlights From The ‘Sharknado’ Conference Call With Tara Reid & Director Anthony Ferrante". Uproxx. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ De Moraes, Lisa (July 12, 2013). "Syfy ‘Sharknado’ Attracts Average Of 1.369 Million Viewers – Mostly Journalists And Celebrities". Deadline. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ De Moraes, Lisa (July 19, 2013). "'Sharknado!' Crowd Grows In Repeat; Europe Wants In". Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (July 30, 2013). "Syfy's 'Sharknado' Hits Viewership Highs in Third Airing, Devours Additional 2.1 Million Viewers". TV By The Numbers. 
  19. ^ Appelo, Tim (July 26, 2013). "The 'Sharknado' Effect: Hollywood's Booming Shark Movie Economy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  20. ^ Payne, Ed (July 12, 2013). "Oh no, it's "Sharknado" and it's ravaging Twitter". CNN. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  21. ^ Butler, Kristen (July 19, 2013). "GOP 'ObamaCareNado' ad likens healthcare law to 'Sharknado'". UPI. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  22. ^ "'Sharknado' In Theaters: Syfy Announces Midnight Screenings Across The Country". The Huffington Post. July 26, 2013. Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  23. ^ "'Sharknado' Midnight Sales 'Bloody Good'". Deadline Hollywood. August 3, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  24. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 4, 2013). "Syfy and NCM Fathom Events partnered to host more than 200 midnight screenings of the campy made-for-TV movie in theaters across the country". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  25. ^ Knox, David (July 17, 2013). "Who will bring us Sharknado?". TV Tonight. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Sharknado release fast-tracked for Australia after killer response". The Weekly Review. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  27. ^ Knox, David (July 27, 2013). "Ratings: Friday 26 July 2013". TV Tonight. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  28. ^ Fletcher, Alex (July 22, 2013). "'Sharknado' gets UK TV debut in August". Digital Spy. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  29. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 31, 2013). "'Sharknado' T-Shirts, Costumes and Other Merch in Syfy Forecast". Variety. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  30. ^ Harley, Madison (April 24, 2014). "'Sharknado Funko POP Vinyl'". Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Sharknado". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 11, 2013.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "RottenTomatoes" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  32. ^ Newman, Kim (November 2013). "Kim Newman's Movie Dungeon". Empire: 134. 
  33. ^ Kelsey, Eric (2013-08-02). "TV film 'Sharknado' inches to cult status with midnight showings". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  34. ^ Ruberto, Toni (July 8, 2014). "‘Rifftrax Live’ skewers ‘Sharknado’". Buffalo News. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  35. ^ Ferrante, Anthony (July 11, 2014). "Sharknado Rifftrax Screening". Twitter. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  36. ^ "SyFy’s ‘Sharknado’ sequel will be set in NYC!". July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  37. ^ Lewis, Hilary (July 17, 2013). "Syfy Announces Sharknado Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  38. ^ Nicholson, Matt (August 8, 2013). "Sharknado 2 Title & Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  39. ^ Pennington, Gail (2014). "'Sharknado 2' smashes ratings records". St Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  40. ^ Dvorkin, Ashley (July 30, 2014). "'Sharknado 2' star Ian Ziering: 'Sharknado 3' is a go!". 
  41. ^ Dayen, David (March 12, 2015). "Michele Bachmann in ‘Sharknado 3’: Brought to You By ‘Strikenado’ Scabs". 
  42. ^ Handel, Jonathan (March 3, 2015). "'Sharknado 3' Producer Mocks Picketing Union By Touting Deal With Sharks". 
  43. ^ Barton, Steve (March 12, 2015). "Sharknado Documentary in the Works". Dread Central. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  44. ^ Marnell, Blair (July 21, 2015). "First Look: Archie vs. Sharknado # 1". Crave Online. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  45. ^ Lavalantula Promo - July 25 on Space. YouTube. July 15, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Sharknado 4 confirmed by Syfy as third film premieres". BBC News. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 

External links[edit]