Features and Columns

Please Don’t Fund This Film: Worthless ‘Sharknado 2’ Hits Up Fans For $50K

By  · Published on April 12th, 2014


I wonder what kind of movie will have to show up on a crowdfunding site for the whole world to just give up. Not just give up on the crowdfunding concept, but give up on life, on everything. We got over the Veronica Mars and the Zach Braff and the Spike Lee, but how about this now: Sharknado 2: The Second One is raising money from its poor fans. Don’t worry if you’re one of them; the NYC-set movie is still set to debut on SyFy on July 30th for your snark-Tweeting amusement. It’s not looking to build its budget or anything. It just needs an extra $50K for a single extra secret scene, one we’re only told involves chainsaws.

Let me guess: they want to top the first movie’s chainsaw scene. This time will both Ian Ziering and Tara Reid be engulfed and then buzz their way out? The only thing that might really be better is if this time the shark is wielding the chainsaw and he enters and then cuts open a human. A really fat human, I suppose. That’s the best they could do to make me watch, the one scene anyway, but I wouldn’t pay a cent in order to see that. I mean, other than sit through the commercials that are there to pay for SyFy’s programming, which I pay for in the form of my suffering.

First of all, Sharknado shouldn’t even have a sequel. The phenomenon of Sharknado was an isolated joke, and while I won’t doubt a lot of people will tune in for another one with Smartphone in hand, that doesn’t make it a good idea. However, due to the incredible ratings the original received, they likely got a lot of money promised to them in ad sales in order to try and repeat the magic. Yeah, that’s right, they got a lot of money already to make the thing, so there’s no reason for you to fork over your cash to help, even for a DVD and t-shirt.

Sure, The Asylum is a relatively small company that makes cheap movies. But the first Sharknado had a budget of about $1M. The sequel’s price tag is unknown, but director Anthony C. Ferrante has been quoted saying the amount was “nice” enough to take advantage of the comparable cushion. Cable television in general is hardly the stuff of struggling indies, and when you get millions of viewers – most of whom didn’t tune in until the third airing of the first one, thanks to all the social media chatter – you’re pretty set. The fact that Sharknado 2 is on Indiegogo now seems mostly to be a marketing ploy than a desperate measure. I guess it’s working, since even this negative publicity is good publicity.

In the campaign video and on the site, we’re told that Sharknado was “the most culturally relevant film of 2013.” Is that true? I kinda doubt it. Frozen or Catching Fire or Gravity or even Fast & Furious has to be a few notches above it. We watched, we laughed, we Tweeted, we forgot all about it a few days later. Snakes on a Plane was just as culturally relevant a few years ago, while it was being made, and then nobody cared anymore, barely even when it hit theaters. Sharknado 2 has the benefit of being free on TV for lazy Americans to passively view, so it’ll be far from a ratings disaster, but I don’t think anyone cares. Maybe the campaign will prove me wrong when it overshoots the goal multiple times.

I’ll probably cry when that happens. Cry for the poor, starving people of the world. Cry for the real life sharks that you could have just donated your full pledge to, rather than having Sharknado 2 give a piece of your contribution toward conservation, and still been able to watch your silly disaster movie just the same, and you wouldn’t even miss that chainsaw scene that is apparently nonessential.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.