Nightly News   |  July 12, 2013

Sharknado twists and turns into social media gold

Campy movie “Sharknado” took Twitter by storm (no pun intended) when it aired on the Syfy channel Thursday. References to the movie – especially jokes -- flew by, clogging social media feeds, as images of sharks hurtled through the air, all part of a giant tornado terrorizing Los Angeles. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> look out because soon, very soon, the most horrifying monster menace ever conceived will be oozing into this theater.

>> the 1958 low-budget horror movie classic starring steve mcqueen . a genre leader in a long line of movies that know they are low budget and they embrace their own cheesiness in hopes that we viewers will too. well, it happened last night on the syfy channel. a movie with little build-up and a premise and execution so over the top word of mouth spread and people started tuning in and kept talking about it into today. for starters, there's the title, "sharknado," as in what happens when you combine sharks with a tornado. nbc 's mike taibbi takes the story from there.

>> reporter: for once, the trailer truly does say it all.

>> sharknado. enough said.

>> reporter: a few words about the premise, and a few are all you need. giant tornadoes dump untold tons of shark-laden water on los angeles .

>> it's flooding here. not the plumbing. the ocean.

>> reporter: and the lead human characters, led by tara reid , john heard , and former " beverly hills 90210 " stalwart ian zeroing, try not to get eaten. here's how campy it all is. someone actually wrote the following line. listen closely. "instead of letting live sharks rain down on people, we're going to get in that chopper and throw bombs into the tornadoes!" i kid you not. anyway, you guessed it, it was a hit for nbc 's syfy channel. at least on social media . facebook was wild with it. 5,000 tweets a minute. some big names and even the weather channel 's jim cantore who lamented "why wasn't i asked to be the forecaster for sharknado?"

>> we've never been hit by a storm quite like this.

>> reporter: but is social media gold really fool's gold? especially since other pop culture rockets like the feature film " snakes on a plane " were actually box office duds.

>> what's more important to advertisers and to networks is that social engagement that goes beyond the number of eyeballs on it and it goes to the volume of the voices of the people who are watching it.

>> reporter: "sharknado's" creators are considering a sequel. and last night's premiere will get a rerun next week.

>> these things are once in a lifetime where something comes along on this scale that just gets attention and everybody wants to talk about it.

>> reporter: in the meantime, it's fun to even say or write or think the name "sharknado." an awful lot of people are. mike taibbi , nbc news.