UPDATED, 1 PM: Hours after Syfy network announced it would repeat last night’s orgy of bad special effects and even worse acting known as Sharknado in response to the social media feeding frenzy it triggered, and word got out the network was mulling a sequel, Nielsen reported the movie was actually watched by an average of 1.369 million people.
In case you were one of the 312 million or so people in the country who did not watch, Sharknado, in round numbers, went like this: the ecological nightmare caused by global warming triggers a freak weather system that results in a mega tornado choc-a-block with angry sharks who sail through the air attacking innocent children and blondes, and causing to be uttered such lines as “they took my grandfather, so I really hate sharks.” The movie culminated in a mano-a-sharko scene, in which our hero Ian Ziering was swallowed by a flying shark but, happily, he had his chainsaw with him at the time; he sawed his way out, also rescuing the distressed damsel who’d earlier been consumed whole by same shark.
“Given the enormous popular demand, Syfy will present a special encore presentation of Sharknado on Thursday, July 18 at 7PM (ET/PT),” the network announced proudly this morning before the audience numbers came in.
Something maybe on a larger scale had been aniticipated, owing to the celebrity-studded social media frenzy that took place while the movie was premiering Thursday night. Because it’s social media, real numbers vary wildly — so what else is new? But Syfy went with the following stats, which were good enough for us: Sharknado clocked 5,000 tweets a minute at its peak, makiing it TV’s most social program for the evening and the NBCUniversal cable network’s most social telecast ever. Syfy said the movie got 387,000 social mentions, 97% driven by Twitter, besting such competitive programming as CBS’ Big Brother, and came within 2,500 tweets of HBO’s Game Of Thrones wedding episode. But, importantly, Syfy forgot to mention that Disney’s Pretty Little Liars usually gets around 1 million tweets every season debut and season finale. Its Season 4 premiere, this past June 11, became the #1 “most tweeted” season premiere in TV history, amassing nearly 1.3 million tweets by more than 482,000 unique contributors.
Among the celebrity Sharknado tweeters, Mia Farrow tweeted a photo of herself with Philip Roth with whom she said she was watching Sharknado. Maybe Roth did not appreciate the gag — anyway, the photo that had been taken of them at a dinner party days earlier vanished at some point. Greg Berlanti contributed the un-original gag, “Somewhere in Hollywood there is a senior executive yelling at a junior executive for not coming up with #Sharknado first.” Yeah, whatever. Damon Lindelof observed, “This movie is such a ripoff of The Bicycle Thief.” Wil Wheaton warned: “You fools! You foolish fools! We should have taken global warning seriously and now there’s Sharknado!”
Naturally, some celebrities made it about themselves: “Oh Goddamn it, now I want to see it too and then I’m gonna want to quit this business…again!” tweeted Michael Chiklis, for example. Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, and Patton Oswalt also threw in their 2 cents worth, and even the American Red Cross weighed in.