Sharknado’s ripple effect

If you had any form of sentience in 2013, you probably remember the cultural phenomena that were “Sharknado.” The sharks swarming all around the civilians in a spiral is truly a sight you’ll never forget, and maybe you were scared of the beach for years to come. 

If you watched SyFy around the time the “Sharknado” movies were being released, you probably remember the other weird low-budget animal horror films that were shown before or after the time slot. Gems like the 2015 film “Lavalantula” about giant lava-breathing tarantulas and “Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf” belonged to a specific genre of film that seemed to be popular during this time. Now whether these movies were directly influenced by “Sharknado,” or they just happened to come out around the same time, we can tell that “Sharknado” made an even bigger and more accessible market for these movies. Although it didn’t invent the genre and I won’t pretend it did, “Sharknado” was one of the most famous shark films next to “Jaws.”

The reason so many low-budget film producers spawn out of nowhere to create these movies was not totally clear at first. The success of “Sharknado” was impressive, with the film costing only one to two million dollars to make while it earned a whopping  $4.503 billion dollars in total. It’s not surprising that directors who had access to a lower budget saw the chance to add to the growing market “Sharknado” created, making cheap horror comedy films including killer animals going after humans. 

“Sharknado” films lasted for six movies in six whole years. A silly movie about sharks in a tornado made billions of dollars and made a whole franchise. If you think about it, it’s kind of smart. It’s creative for sure, and when people hear the plot they’ll have to see it to believe it. Whether people hate watching the movie or watch it because they really like it, any press is good press. If you can make a whole franchise built on being one of the best and worst movies ever, then more power to you. So if you’re ever in a meeting and about to pitch your movie idea but you’re scared to be laughed at, just remember someone pitched “Sharknado,” so you’ll probably be fine. 

Movies like this continue to get made, including “Sharks of the Corn” which was released in 2021. Even if it was indirectly created by the existence of “Sharknado,”  half of the audience of the film was introduced to this oddly specific genre by the existence of the 2013 film.

 All in all, even if it wasn’t purposeful, “Sharknado” made a big wave for low-budget filmmakers and gave a new audience to the pre-existing genre. If you happen to be one of the few who never witnessed a “Sharknado” film, do yourself a favor and watch the complete masterpiece.