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Sharks flying through the air, caught in a tornado. In the background is a ferris wheel.
Release poster
Written byThunder Levin
Directed byAnthony C. Ferrante
Music byRamin Kousha
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerDavid Michael Latt
CinematographyBen Demaree
EditorWilliam Boodell
Running time85 minutes[1]
Production companiesThe Asylum
Syfy Films
Budget$2 million[2]
Original networkSyfy
Original release
  • July 11, 2013 (2013-07-11)
Sharknado 2: The Second One

Sharknado is a 2013 American made-for-television science fiction comedy disaster film directed by Anthony C. Ferrante. It tells 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 Fathom Events, where it earned $200,000 from 200 screenings.[6][7] The over-the-top premise and theatrics of the film quickly earned it a cult following.

The film spawned a franchise of the same name; five sequels have been produced (Sharknado 2: The Second One, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, and The Last Sharknado: It's About Time),[8][9][10] as well as three spin-off films (Lavalantula, Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness, and 2 Lava 2 Lantula). Though the original film was not explicitly a comedy, maintaining at least a façade of seriousness despite the implausible plot, the sequels were more openly comedic in nature.


Off the coast of Mexico, the ship of shark fin smuggler Carlos Santiago is caught in a hurricane, interrupting his meeting with a potential buyer. A tornado throws swarms of sharks onto the boat, killing all aboard.

The hurricane soon hits Los Angeles, flooding the city with shark-infested seawater. Bar owner and professional 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 are destroyed by the flooding. While heading to April's home, the group stops on 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 escapes unharmed from the house, which gets hit by a huge wave causing it to collapse.

As they travel, the group comes across a school bus trapped in the floodwaters and surrounded by sharks. Fin stops to save the children and bus driver by rappelling down to the bus from a bridge. Afterward, the bus driver is killed by a letter in the Hollywood Sign. 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. Three tornadoes develop and absorb the floodwater, turning into shark-filled "sharknados". The group borrow equipment from nearby storage and Matt and Nova become attracted to each other. Matt and Nova decide to stop the threat of the incoming sharknados 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 Matt's friends Bobby and Luellyn. 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.[11]


  • Ian Ziering as Fin "Finley" Shepard, an ex-surfer who owns a bar.
  • John Heard as George, a drunk man who spends all his time at Fin’s bar.
  • Tara Reid as April Wexler, Fin's former wife.
  • Cassie Scerbo as Nova Clarke, a barmaid who works for Fin.
  • Jaason Simmons as Baz Hogan, Fin's right-hand man.
  • Aubrey Peeples as Claudia, April and Fin's daughter who feels left out.
  • Chuck Hittinger as Matt, Fin and April's son in flight school.
  • Christopher Wolfe as Collin, April's boyfriend.
  • Robbie Rist as Robbie, a bus driver.
  • Eileen Anderson, Frankie Mellor, Hannah Johnson, Ryan Ainsley and Timo de Jong as school kids on the bus.
  • Alex Arleo as Bobby, one of Matt's friends in flight school.
  • Connor Weil as Luellyn, one of Matt's friends in flight school.
  • Julie McCullough as Jonni Waves, a news reporter.
  • Adrian Bustamante as Kelso, a lifeguard.
  • Israel Sáez de Miguel as Captain Carlos Santiago, a fishing boat captain.
  • Marcus Choi as Palmer, a businessman attempting to make a shady deal with Captain Santiago.


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!"[12] Sharknado is one of many B-movies commissioned by Syfy.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]

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."[17]


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.[13][18] However, 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. That airing was watched by 1.89 million viewers, an increase of 38% over its initial airing.[19] 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.[20] Sharknado was projected to increase revenue for The Asylum from $5 million in 2009 to $19 million in 2013.[21]

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[22] while others incorporated it into their own advertising.[23]

Regal Cinemas announced that at midnight on August 2, 2013, it would play the film in roughly 200 theaters nationally.[24] Tickets sold out quickly in New York, Boston, and Seattle, where more showings were added to appease customer demand.[25] Box office numbers were weak for the midnight showings; estimates were at under $200,000.[26]

International broadcast[edit]

  • Australia – Premiere on the Universal Channel was scheduled for September 9, 2013,[27] but was fast-tracked to premiere on July 26, 2013, after the film's wide international response.[28] 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.[29]
  • United Kingdom – Premiered on Syfy on August 7, 2013.[30]
  • 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.
  • Thailand – Broadcast on free-to-air PPTV HD television channel on June 6, 2017.[31]
  • Philippines – Premiered on free-to-air television network GMA Network on January 2, 2016 under the Kapuso Movie Night block.[32]


Syfy and The Asylum announced in August 2013 that Sharknado merchandise would be made available, including T-shirts and potentially other products, such as costumes, bags and posters.[33] Funko acquired the licensing agreement to manufacture the POP Vinyl version of Sharknado [34]


Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 74% based on 19 reviews; the average rating is 6.12/10. The site's consensus states: "Proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless, Sharknado redefines 'so bad it's good' for a new generation."[35]

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."[36]

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."[37]

Sharknado has become a cult film.[38] 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.[39] After the event, Ferrante said that "Being skewered by the MST3K guys was an honor."[40] In 2016, added a page to their disaster prep guides on How to Prepare Your Home For a Sharknado.[41]

Sequels and re-release[edit]

The success of Sharknado spawned a series of sequels, with the sixth and final entry in the series being released on August 19, 2018.[42]

In 2023, Sharknado was re-released with new special effects and deleted scenes for the film's tenth anniversary.[43][44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 20 Worst Movies of 2013". Rolling Stone. March 5, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 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. July 22, 2015.
  9. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 10, 2018). "Syfy Sets Summer Premiere Dates For 'Wynonna Earp', 'Killjoys' & Final 'Sharknado'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Squires, John (February 19, 2018). "'Sharknado 6' Will Be a Time Traveling Adventure; Art, Info and Date!". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Holmes, Linda (July 12, 2012). "'Sharknado' Dares To Ask: Is It Going To Rain Giant Man-Eating Sharks?". NPR. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  12. ^ D, David (July 11, 2013). "Here's The Full 'Sharknado' Trailer The Internet Has Been Waiting For". Uproxx. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Suddath, Claire (July 12, 2013). "Inventing 'Sharknado': Inside Syfy's Booming B-Movie Factory". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on July 14, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  14. ^ Valcourt, Keith (2013). "From Cousin Oliver to Sharknado Robbie Rist Rocks!". Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  15. ^ Kepnes, Caroline (May 11, 2013). "Tara Reid on 'Sharknado': So Ridiculous and So Bad, It's Good!". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  16. ^ Moraski, Lauren (December 20, 2013). "Ian Ziering on a "Sharknado" sequel, "Beverly Hills, 90210" reunion". CBS News. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  17. ^ Guerrero, Danger (July 10, 2013). "Highlights From The 'Sharknado' Conference Call With Tara Reid & Director Anthony Ferrante". Uproxx. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  18. ^ De Moraes, Lisa (July 12, 2013). "Syfy 'Sharknado' Attracts Average Of 1.369 Million Viewers – Mostly Journalists And Celebrities". Deadline. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  19. ^ De Moraes, Lisa (July 19, 2013). "'Sharknado!' Crowd Grows In Repeat; Europe Wants In". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  20. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (July 30, 2013). "Syfy's 'Sharknado' Hits Viewership Highs in Third Airing, Devours Additional 2.1 Million Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on September 4, 2013.
  21. ^ Appelo, Tim (July 26, 2013). "The 'Sharknado' Effect: Hollywood's Booming Shark Movie Economy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  22. ^ Payne, Ed (July 12, 2013). "Oh no, it's "Sharknado" and it's ravaging Twitter". CNN. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  23. ^ Butler, Kristen (July 19, 2013). "GOP 'ObamaCareNado' ad likens healthcare law to 'Sharknado'". UPI. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  24. ^ "'Sharknado' In Theaters: Syfy Announces Midnight Screenings Across The Country". The Huffington Post. July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  25. ^ "'Sharknado' Midnight Sales 'Bloody Good'". Deadline Hollywood. August 3, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Knox, David (July 17, 2013). "Who will bring us Sharknado?". TV Tonight. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  28. ^ "Sharknado release fast-tracked for Australia after killer response". The Weekly Review. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  29. ^ Knox, David (July 27, 2013). "Ratings: Friday 26 July 2013". TV Tonight. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  30. ^ Fletcher, Alex (July 22, 2013). "'Sharknado' gets UK TV debut in August". Digital Spy. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  31. ^ CINEMA36 - Sharknado 1 ฝูงฉลามทอร์นาโด 1 (in Thai). PPTV HD 36. June 12, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2018 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ "AGB Nielsen: Mega Manila TV Ratings – January 1-5, 2016". LionhearTV. January 5, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  33. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 31, 2013). "'Sharknado' T-Shirts, Costumes and Other Merch in Syfy Forecast". Variety. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  34. ^ Harley, Madison (April 24, 2014). "Sharknado Funko POP Vinyl". Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  35. ^ "Sharknado". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  36. ^ "'Sharknado': TV review". Daily News. New York. July 11, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  37. ^ Newman, Kim (November 2013). "Kim Newman's Movie Dungeon". Empire: 134.
  38. ^ Kelsey, Eric (August 2, 2013). "TV film 'Sharknado' inches to cult status with midnight showings". Reuters. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  39. ^ Ruberto, Toni (July 8, 2014). "'Rifftrax Live' skewers 'Sharknado'". Buffalo News. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  40. ^ Ferrante, Anthony (July 11, 2014). "Sharknado Rifftrax Screening". Twitter. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  41. ^ McCullers, Cassandra (July 10, 2016). "How to Prepare Your Home for a Sharknado". Homes.Com. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  42. ^ Gilyadov, Alex (April 7, 2017). "Syfy Sets Summer Premiere Dates for Sharknado 5, Dark Matter, Killjoys, Wynonna Earp and More". IGN. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  43. ^ Squires, John (August 7, 2023). "'Sharknado' Celebrating 10th Anniversary with Theatrical Release and 100s of New Special Effects". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  44. ^ "Sharknado Swimming Into Theaters With Special Features, Deleted Scenes For 10th Anniversary". SYFY Official Site. August 8, 2023. Retrieved August 16, 2023.

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