With Sharknado storming into 200 theaters for midnight screenings tonight (August 2nd), is director Anthony C. Ferrante having the best birthday week ever?
With the announcement that NCM Fathom Events and Sharknado producer The Asylum have teamed up for a midnight screening tonight in 200 Regal Cinema theaters across the country, the director of Syfy’s surprise social media hit Sharknado (and Geek senior editor) Anthony C. Ferrante couldn’t be having a sweeter birthday — or could he? Through the creative genius and generosity of ever-innovative cake maker Duff Goldman (better known to many as the star of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes) and his staff at Charm City Cakes West (charmcitycakeswest.com), the Geek team gave it our best shot with presenting Anthony with this killer Sharknado birthday cake! (And yes, it’s far too awesome to put a candle in it.)
Since birthdays are a time to reflect, we cornered Ferrante to see if the frenzied filmmaker can make any sense of Sharknado’s toothy storm.
Geek: Foodies everywhere are thinking the same thing: “Dude — you got a Sharknado cake made by Duff Goldman for your birthday… WTF??” Is this 15 minutes ever going to end?
Anthony C. Ferrante: I think the most exciting part about all of this is watching this whole phenomenon. It’s inspired so much silliness and fan support; it’s been pretty crazy. This cake is about as cool as you can get, especially since it’s not the easiest thing to come up with a cake that captures sharks in a tornado, but Duff did it and it’s one of the most awesome offshoots of this movie to date.
There was a high social media anticipation for the movie — was that a surprise to you, the producers and Syfy?
This movie was marketed pretty much like most Syfy moves. It started with the commercials and there were a few interviews. Leading up to the airdate, we pushed to get the full-length trailer online, we did a music video for the theme song and created a Sharknado Army on Facebook. The whole intent of this was to get more of the genre fans to the movie. So when it blew up and the rest of the world came along, it was a nice surprise. It was never anticipated and we never told people to organize parties and groups of people to watch the movie and tweet. It happened organically and it’s actually quite exciting to see a little movie like this get all this attention without a marketing budget pushing people toward it.
The night of the July 11 premiere, everyone’s twitter and FB feed was fueled by #Sharknado with tweets peaking at 5,000 per minute. The Twittermania became the craziest movie-watching party guest list from Jill Biden and Jake Tapper to Damon Lindelof and Wil Wheaton. Was your mind blown?
I think when Mia Farrow [“Rosemary” from the classic Rosemary’s Baby] tweeted a picture of herself watching Sharknado, we pretty much knew something special was going on. And I think what it was, is the audience created the first interactive nationwide movie-going experience. You had everyone communicating online, including the filmmakers and cast.
The initial ratings were fine but fairly ordinary for the premiere. Did you wonder if Twitter had jumped the shark?
It’s hard to figure out what the numbers meant, but when we were at Comic-Con and did the signing at the Geek booth, we found out that people had massive parties and showed the film, and that families got together to watch. So, I believe we had a larger audience than was calculated by Nielsen, because it doesn’t take into consideration large groups like that. That said, everyone was talking about us the day after it aired, so something was going right for this little movie.
And then the ratings went up by nearly 50% in then second airing and were even higher in the third airing — basically unheard of. Were you shocked? What do you and Syfy make of that?
The networks keep talking about how the real measurement of ratings is different and are constantly use terms like Live+7 and the numbers they get off of re-airings on Hulu and On Demand. How people consume movies these days is different, as the reaction to this film proved. I think we had a little bit of a buzz on the first airing, and then people kept coming back to see what it was all about.
And in addition to monster lines at the Geek booth at SDCC, where you, writer Thunder Levin, producer David Latt and actors Aubrey Peeples and Jaason Simmons signed posters, now the movie is opening for one night only the Friday for midnight screenings in over 200 theaters nationwide.
I didn’t expect the kind of reaction we got at Comic-Con. It was crazy. And the midnight theatrical showing is the icing on the cake. When we first watched Sharknado put together with all the VFX, I was convinced this was a weird movie that no one would get. And instead it became a huge hit and the midnight screenings are happening across the country. I really can’t wait to see how people react in a theater. If we have the level of engagement we had on TV, the audience is going to be an absolute riot.
It will be nuts. And we hear Syfy has not only greenlit the sequel to be set in NYC to air in July of 2014, but they are also inviting Twitter followers to submit ideas for a subtitle with the hashtag #Sharknado. Any frontrunners so far?
I haven’t been keeping up on too many of them, though we’ve been joking about a Sharkferno for a while!
Thanks, Anthony and happy birthday from everyone at Geek!
Tickets for tonight’s August 2nd midnight screenings are available at Fathom Events and Regal Cinemas for $12.50. There will be a red carpet premiere with the cast and crew starting at 10:30 pm at LA Live Regal Cinemas in downtown Los Angeles. And unlike most theaters, tweeting is heavily encouraged by Regal Cinemas using the hashtag #Sharknado and the company’s Twitter handle @RegalMovies. Chainsaws, however, are still discouraged.
Check out the “(The Ballad of) Sharknado” by Quint (also available on iTunes)
And look for more from Duff and Charm City Cakes West on the E! special L.A. Sugar, airing this week.