America’s shame: Early ratings for “Sharknado” disappoint; Update: Or do they?

posted at 2:41 pm on July 12, 2013 by Allahpundit

Is this America?

Last night, Twitter turned into one long promotional platform for Syfy’s “Sharknado, a spoof on disaster movies. But once again, it seems that a ton of tweets does not necessarily translate into huge ratings. “Sharknado” had an audience of just over 1 million people and only a 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic in early Nielsen numbers. Bottom line: It doesn’t take a lot of people to make a lot of noise on Twitter.

Business Week says that number, if true, is poor even by the standards of Syfy schlocksploitation. Their “octobear versus sharkosaurus” mutant monster genre draws an average of 1.5 million viewers per film, and sometimes much more. It’s hard for me to believe that a movie with this sort of hype on social media could actually underperform relative to the usual crapola — and maybe it didn’t. Preliminary ratings sometimes underestimate the total audience. But for what it’s worth, the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that “Sharknado” finished 35th in the local market with just a smidgen over 35,000 viewers. Which raises the question: When did we, as a people, lose our sense of national identity?

The movie did well in one medium, though:

It briefly hit 5,000 tweets per minute at the end, when Ian Ziering used a chainsaw to cut through a shark’s belly and then emerged from it, covered in viscera, reborn unto the world through a man-made sharkgina. But even those numbers are deceiving. Granted, it was tops last night among TV shows with 386,000 “social interactions,” but to put that in perspective, the season premiere of “Teen Wolf” on MTV last month drew a cool million. How could a silly, preposterous show like that top “Sharknado”?

Actually, there’s a lesson here:

That’s cute, but it’s kind of true. Online media is really just different forms of epistemic closure overlapping. “Sharknado” is a media phenomenon because pop-culture critics, both professional and amateur, love camp that’s as gleefully ridiculous as this. But if you’re not one of those people and you’re just looking for something good to watch, why would you spend two hours on it? It was so low-budget, the scenes of the characters “driving” around were shot exclusively in close-up through the windshield to pretend-hide the fact that they weren’t actually moving. If you’re the sort of person who’s willing to devote two hours of your life to ironic appreciation of egregious schlock, you were in a happy place. How many people are like that nationally? More than a million, I would have guessed, but maybe that’s my own epistemic closure talking

Exit question: This … doesn’t mean we’re not going to get “Sharknado 2,” does it?

Update: New ratings from THR show “Sharknado” at 1.4 million viewers — much closer to Syfy’s average for movies like this, but still lower than expected given the insane social-media hype.

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Syfy should step up their game and do something with Shark Zombies… or possibly Weresharks.

Mahna Mahna on July 12, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Their budget was only a million bucks. Pretty skimpy and even more skimpy when you need cgi effects which are expensive.

Now, I only saw about 90 seconds of the movie, but the CGI in that 90 seconds, well, it was a house being washed away in a mud slide, the house just kind of broke apart into pixels. I’m pretty sure the camera on my phone can do that too, only better.

Wallythedog on July 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Interesting fact: more sharks are eaten by people than there are people who have been eaten by sharks.


Teeth without brains can never match brains behind teeth.
Does that even make sense?

The political view: Undocumented sharks need to be allowed to vote, without requiring fin print IDs.

Don L on July 12, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I’m already working on the script for the next Sharkathon movie- Amazon Sharks…
Some riveting bits of script….
“…I suspect that the sharks who inhabit this rain forest will take their revenge on we evil men for daring to disturb their pristine environment just to make anaconda movies….”
“The final scene with the million female shark march up the river will haunt viewers forever…..”
Clint Eastwood will play the part of the old wrinkled tree the natives carve into an empty chair, while Jim Carrey will play the role of the entire tribe of rambunctious monkeys that are eaten by the hybrid Piranha -sharks.
Madonna will play her typical role of the sacrificial virgin who is the love interest of OJ Simpson who is making his first cinematic comeback attempt since the Naked Gun blockbusters.
The naked tribesmen are all extras found sans clothing always roaming the streets of downtown LA and the Seattle town parks.
The scene with the white explorers smoking those giant rain-forest mushrooms has been cut do to the disappearance of the mushrooms….and the white explorers….

Don L on July 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

It was glorious.

Maxpower on July 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

In terms of viewer ratings, can’t forget that sharknado was up against Burn Notice and Graceland.

William Teach on July 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

In terms of viewer ratings, can’t forget that sharknado was up against Burn Notice and Graceland.

William Teach on July 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Burn Notice is still running? Cool.

astonerii on July 12, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Trash is trash.

GarandFan on July 12, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Which is like saying Americans have better taste than Italians? Arguments to the contrary?

apostic on July 12, 2013 at 3:29 PM

No argument here.

Have you seen their suits?


Solaratov on July 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Mine: Slothnami!!

Sacramento on July 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

It’d have to be a lo-o-o-o-ng movie.

With a pretty slow-paced plot.


Solaratov on July 12, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Should have had Henry Winkler on a bike with a shark jumping over him.

TfromV on July 12, 2013 at 6:45 PM

I’ll be watching this tonight, hopefully. Hubby just shook his head when I told him about it.

ScoopPC11 on July 12, 2013 at 7:11 PM

I enjoyed the event. people on Twitter enjoyed the event. Even people like Brit Hume said a little something about it (joined in). Sure, the movie was crap. It was fun.

SurferDoc on July 12, 2013 at 8:22 PM

I don’t have cable or satellite for financial reasons. AKA I can do math after a fashion.

Why pay $70+/ month for 150 channels? You know damn well you’ll never watch 99.9% of what you’re paying for. In states with “a’la carte” laws, the cable/satellite providers invariably price the individual channels high enough that six or seven (the national average for the number of channels people actually watch) will cost as much as the whole “package deal”.

Myself, I prefer DVDs. I get what I want to watch, and watch it when I want to. Second-hand DVD stores are useful, as gently-used ones sell for under $5 each.

The “No return” $1 bargain bin is often a goldmine. I recently picked up Star Wars Episode One out of it, plus the “extras” disk from the LucasFilm Indiana Jones boxed set. Not to mention Virus with Jamie Lee Curtis and Dante’s Peak with Pierce Brosnan.

Those “12 Action Movie Packs” and “4 Sci-Fi Movie Packs” are nice one-buck pickups, too. I believe it’s very difficult for a movie to be so bad that it’s not worth a quarter, or eight cents, especially if there’s something else in the pack that’s actually worth watching. One I just picked up had Phantoms with Peter O’Toole, Ben Affleck and Rose McGowan, from the Dean Koontz novel. It also had The Prophecy with Christopher Walken. OK, that one sucked, but Phantoms was worth the cost of “admission” by itself.

According to the ratings-watchers, there are an increasing number of “No TV” homes. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a TV set, just that it isn’t connected to cable, satellite, or an antenna. The “digital TV” changeover The One was so proud of is largely responsible for that last. With the change from analogue to digital, with its dependence on high signal strength, “marginal” to “partial” reception areas (like the place I live) became “No reception” areas. The networks and their affiliates are now probably wishing they hadn’t signed on for that one.

No skin off my nose. I just stick a DVD in.

I probably will see “Sharknado”. In about a year it’ll show up on a “4 Sci-Fi Movie Pack”, and I’ll get it for a buck.

Heck, even a movie with flying sharks is worth a quarter.



eon on July 12, 2013 at 8:31 PM

So, Battlestar Galactica and its sequels cannot get airtime despite their critical acclaim, but Sharknado and Raslin are worthy of airtime?

smorrow66 on July 12, 2013 at 8:40 PM

The dotcom bubble gave way to blogger triumphalism, then social networks, then memes, then Twitter.

The Internet still is not a big a deal as it collectively thinks it is.

The archetype for this was Snakes on a Plane. Basement dwellers lobbied the producers on forums to keep the working title, and soon the crowd was heavily involved in the production and promotion. Everyone patted themselves on the back for developing a new method of filmaking. Then no one went to see it.

HitNRun on July 12, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Best line in the movie:

First, the setup: the main character’s beachside pub business is destroyed by the storm. The group look at the wreckage and the Aussie says. …

“Insurance will cover it.”

The only thing tat would’ve been funnier would have been, while some guy s getting his leg chewed off by a sark, “It’s covered in Obamacare.”

MaxMBJ on July 12, 2013 at 9:38 PM

For true horror, I recommend the Bobbit Worm. It grows in the Pacific and hides in the sand and grows up to 10 feet long. It was given the Latin name eunice aphroditois because its skin is iridescent. I became interested after seeing a segment on a NatGeo Wild program in which a public aquarium in Newquay, England kept losing its expensive living corals. Something was eating them during the night, rock and all. After about 6 years, the keeper resolved to take the exhibit apart piece by piece and was startled by the emergence of this 6 foot specimen. It had apparently been small when the reef exhibit was first installed and had grown through the years by eating its tankmates.

The name was given after someone saw it attack another worm and cut it in half with a single bite. There is a video of an attack on a Lionfish online. It is said to have stinging bristles that can render a person’s skin numb for life. It’s of one thousands of species of segmented worms that live on land and in the sea called polychaete worms, and its attacks are extremely fast. It eats everything it can catch, including the coral rocks in a reef.

These things are extremely creepy and dangerous. There are a lot of links about it online.

flataffect on July 12, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Just when you thought you’d seen the worst movie ever…they make this POS.

CW on July 12, 2013 at 10:50 PM

More Sharknado!
“Son of Sharknado”
“Bride of Sharknado”
“I was a teenage Sharknado”
“Sharknados of London”
“Night of the Living Sharknado”

The possibilities are endless.

tommyboy on July 13, 2013 at 6:10 AM

The possibilities are endless.

tommyboy on July 13, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Yep. Who knew that Robert Englund would make an entire career out of Freddie Krueger?

But there’s this, too;

Only two things are infinite – the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.

-Albert Einstein



eon on July 13, 2013 at 6:42 AM

More Sharknado!
“Son of Sharknado”
“Bride of Sharknado”
“I was a teenage Sharknado”
“Sharknados of London”
“Night of the Living Sharknado”
The possibilities are endless.
tommyboy on July 13, 2013 at 6:10 AM

The movie(s) flop(s) .. any boohoos :(? .. NOT

Howsomevah, the term “SHARKNADO” … will live forever! (To be tagged to most every MSM “Breaking News Story” henceforth..)

BigSven on July 13, 2013 at 6:57 AM


justltl on July 13, 2013 at 7:11 AM

That bites. And blows.

itzWicks on July 13, 2013 at 8:17 AM

I thought about tuning in, but it was in the middle of a close Orioles/Rangers game, so I passed. Maybe next time.

DRayRaven on July 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Same, except I was watching Cleveland vs KC. Did follow the Ace liveblog though so I missed nothing of importance.

jarodea on July 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

I Tivo’ed this and finally got around to watching it this morning. My God, this is Birdemic bad, but more entertainingly so because the stupid just keeps running at high gear. This is a seriously deranged plot coupled with very poor story telling with pictures; it’s like that at an Ed Wood, Jr. level. If you know how to read a movie, this is absolutely so bad, it’s good.

apostic on July 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM

It’s called the “Springer Filter” as in Jerry Springer. “I will only deliver 1.4 million viewers but I guarantee that over 1 million will be stupid enough to spend $19.95 for that useless P O S $2 Chinese crap your selling. So that’s over 19 million dollars, but wait there’s more!…”

Pole-Cat on July 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Those “12 Action Movie Packs” and “4 Sci-Fi Movie Packs” are nice one-buck pickups, too. I believe it’s very difficult for a movie to be so bad that it’s not worth a quarter, or eight cents, especially if there’s something else in the pack that’s actually worth watching.

You have obviously not watched `Plan 9 from Outer Space`. :)

Dr. Dog on July 14, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Still outdid MSNBC and CNN in primetime ratings!

stukinIL4now on July 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM

They completely lost me in the end. The movie was going along really well until the girl got pulled out of the shark. Come on. How did that chainsaw miss hurting her? Ruined an otherwise great movie.

Dr. Frank Enstine on July 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM