They may have silly names and even sillier premises. But one thing no one can dispute — the original movies Syfy produces and airs are very popular, and make a lot of money for the cable channel.
And now the latest outing is making waves beyond the regular genre geekdom, and has become the hottest project on social media that Syfy has evern done.
What’s it called? “Sharknado.”
What’s it about? A tornado filled with a swarm of sharks.
During its premiere Thursday night, “Sharknado” generated more than 5,000 tweets a minute on popular social network Twitter, according to a news release from the cable channel. Those tweets crossed all regular lines, bringing in celebrities and fans alike.
During the broadcast, Syfy counted 387,000 social mentions, with 97 percent coming from Twitter using popular hashtags like “#sharknado” and “#syfy.” It was so many mentions that the only other broadcast anywhere that beat “Sharknado” on social media was “Game of Thrones” for its famous “Red Wedding” episode — and that had just 2,500 tweets more.
The outing was so big (and we don’t even have ratings yet), that Syfy has already scheduled an encore broadcast on July 18, just as San Diego Comic-Con is gearing up. It stars Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame, Casie Scerbo, John Heard of “Home Alone” and Tara Reid from “Scrubs.” According to Syfy, “Sharknado is about a makeshift team that has to investigate the ecological nightmare that has sharks swimming through the streets of Los Angeles and falling from the skies.
It’s from writer Thunder Levin, who wrote his first movie for Syfy, and was directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, who has made a name for himself in the past as a special makeup effects supervisor. He was also a producer in “Leprechaun’s Revenge” and “Scream of the Banshee,” both of which he wrote.
Entertainment Weekly collected some of the more popular tweets from the night, including actress Mia Farrow, who said she would have to go pick up a chainsaw the next day — alluding to the main character’s use of the weapon to help fight the invading sharks.
Patton Oswalt, the comedian who had a recurring role in the “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff “Caprica,” joked that he got a called from the second assistant director from the film he was working on saying that “all movies cancelled. It’s done,” and references “Sharknado” in a hashtag.
Former “The Office” star B.J. Novak tweeted that he’s afraid that “now when we have a real sharknado, everyone’s going to treat it like a joke.”
Even the U.S. Marine Corps reserve got in the on the joke while promoting its destructive weather handbook, stating that it covers everything … except sharknados.
Syfy knows how campy these movies are, but also know that fans eat them up. It was once explained to Airlock Alpha that producers develop funny campy names, pick which ones they like the most, and then develop them into movies.
That has resulted in some very popular titles like “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid,” “Mongolia Death Worm” and “Piranhaconda.”
The encore for “Sharknado” airs at 7 p.m. ET.