shark*na"do, n.; pl. sharknadoes. [from English, portmanteau of "shark" + "tornado," 2012, from Asylum Pictures]
A tornado that drops sharks.
A low budget ($1 million), direct-to-TV movie created by Los Angeles-based studio The Asylum, starring Tara Reid and Ian Zeiring, which first aired on The SyFy Channel on July 11, 2013.
The plot: a sharknado happens.
In fact, the producers themselves did not fel the need to explain more than that. Their promotional poster depicted a tornado with three sharks emerging from it, and the tagline: "Enough said."
Need more details? Here's how SyFy described it: "Super tornadoes suck sharks up from the ocean,
hurling them at LA."
Despite relatively low viewership on the first night it aired (approx. 1.3 million), during the movie Twitter counted 5000 tweets about the movie per minute, including Hollywood celebrities tweeting in disbelief as they watched (the press covered notable tweets from Mia Farrow, Patton Oswalt, Damon Lindelof, Elizabeth Banks, and Olivia Wilde). The buzz and subsequent press meant that a second and third airing on the network made it the most watched movie on SyFy ever, and in August, Regal Cinemas screened the movie in 200 theaters at midnight showings.
The film's low budget and short production schedule meant that the 350 special effects shots in the 90 minute film, including the iconic scene in which Ziering's character is swallowed by a flying shark, only to chainsaw his way to freedom from the inside out, had to be done with off-the-shelf software, and completed within a month.
The Asylum is at work on a sequel, Sharknado: The Second One.
Carolyn Giardina, "'Sharknado' Fever: VFX Supervisor Dishes on Those Unforgettable Effects," The Hollywood Reporter, July 12, 2013. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/sharknado-fever-vfx-supervisor-dishes-584678 (accessed September 17, 2013)
Ellen Gray, "'Sharknado' director tells all." Philly.com. July 28, 2013 http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/television/Sharknado-director-.html (accessed September 13, 2013)
Erik Hayden, "'Sharknado' Draws More Tweets Than 'Game of Thrones' Wedding Episode," The Hollywood Reporter. July 12, 2013. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/sharknado-draws-more-tweets-game-584588 (accessed July 23, 2013)
David Katz, "From Asylum, the People Who Brought You (a Movie Kinda Sorta Like) Pacific Rim." GQ. August 2013. http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201308/sharknado-atlantic-rim-pacific-rim-asylum-movie-spoof (accessed July 23, 2013)