Updated, July 17, 11 a.m.: Syfy has announced a sequel to "Sharknado" is in the works. Sharknado 2, its working title, is slated to air in 2014. The cable network also announced a contest to name the sequel or prequel.
Original story: You may have thought Syfy channel's "Sharknado" was just a campy movie about sharks in a tornado ravaging Los Angeles. But in fact, it was a major cultural event, at least amongst the Twitterati and their followers. It might as well have been called #Sharknado.
But apparently the hype was all on Twitter. The Los Angeles Times reported this morning that while talk on the Twittersphere about the show was rampant, it didn't translate into actual television viewers. Early Nielsen numbers report "Sharknado" had an audience of just over 1 million viewers and only a 0.4 rating in the 18-24 demographic group.
It reminds some of the initial hype behind the movie "Snakes on a Plane" that drove media attention and publicity but failed to translate into box office revenue, earning just $15 million on its opening weekend.
And yet, the movie and its ratings may be part of a broader strategy by Syfy to pump out cheap b-movies with 1980s TV stars who appeal to the channel's specific demographic, middle-aged and older men. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the channel makes about 24 per year, with a moderate (by Hollywood standards) budget of $1.5 million each.
Still "Sharknado", which aired Thursday night, was endorsed by no less than actress Mia Farrow. She added some film criticism appropriate to the twitter megaphone:
Omg omg OMG #sharknado— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) July 12, 2013
A Syfy representative quickly replied to offer her a role in the sequel.