Will Sharknado 2 Make Waves for Comcast's Syfy?

Sharknado 2: The Second One premieres this month, but can Syfy create another social media sensation?

Jul 1, 2014 at 9:58AM

Comcast Corp.'s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Syfy network will soon release sharks into the streets of New York City. Sharknado 2: The Second One premieres on July 30 and picks up with the surviving cast from last year's cult film. Will The Second One bring in the ratings numbers of the first film? 

Sharknado premiered last July to lower-than-average ratings, but it became a social media phenomenon. Future airings attracted more viewers, a one-night screening was arranged at some Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) cinemas, and merchandising deals were struck.  

Will Sharknado 2: The Second One cause the same stir? 

Built-in audience
wasn't a Syfy hit right out of the gate. The premiere night attracted about 1.4 million viewers -- slightly below average for a Syfy debut.

The movie's premise? A hurricane brings sharks on land and in pursuit of a cast that includes Beverly Hills 90210 veteran Ian Ziering, American Pie's Tara Reid, and John Heard. The title and premise led to the movie trending on Twitter despite the low initial ratings. 

Syfy saw an opportunity and brought Sharknado back to air the following week -- and it saw ratings jump to 1.9 million viewers. The number jumped again on the third showing, to 2.1 million.  

Sharknado was pushed past its audience limits when Regal Entertainment had a one-night midnight screening of the film in 200 theaters around the country. The endeavor led to box-office returns of only about $200,000.

How much money did the better-received television airings bring in for Syfy?


Source: Syfy

Comcast enters The Asylum 
The Sharknado films were produced by The Asylum, a movie house devoted to churning out low-cost "mockbusters." Ever scrolled through Netflix and seen a title suspiciously similar to a current blockbuster in movie theaters? That's probably an Asylum film. 

Thomas Vitale, Syfy executive VP of programming and original movies, spoke with Forbes last year about how the channel gets involved with movies like Sharknado. Syfy commissions the films from independent studios and then serves as a co-producer. Vitale said Syfy puts up about $800,000 for the films, which can cost up to $2 million to produce. 

How well these movies pay off financially for Syfy is more nebulous. Parent company Comcast has a lot of pots in the fire -- especially with the current acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Syfy fits into the NBCUniversal subsidiary but usually doesn't even merit a specific mention in earnings releases. 

Sharknado's success still matters to the company, but more from a marketing and branding standpoint. What other Syfy movies have inspired clothing and accessories sold at Wal-Mart stores, vinyl toys, and a Halloween costumes?  

The film also marked the turning point for critics who now judge Syfy's original movies based on the intended campy nature rather than compare the works to serious science-fiction films. Sharknado currently holds an 82% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.  

Foolish final thoughts
Sharknado 2: The Second One
won't need the slow build of the first film, since the audience was already established. Syfy has an entire launch week planned around the film that will amount to the B-movie equivalent of Discovery Channel's Shark Week, and the channel has already ordered a third film. Expect to see Twitter explode again on premiere night, but Regal might want to stay out of it this time.  

Leaked: This coming device has every company salivating
The best investors consistently reap gigantic profits by recognizing true potential earlier and more accurately than anyone else. Let me cut right to the chase. There is a product in development that will revolutionize not just how we buy goods, but potentially how we interact with the companies we love on a daily basis. Analysts are already licking their chops at the sales potential. In order to outsmart Wall Street and realize multi-bagger returns, you will need The Motley Fool's new free report on the dream-team responsible for this game-changing blockbuster. CLICK HERE NOW.

Brandy Betz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers