'Sharknado 2': Syfy Ramping Up Merchandising Efforts for Sequel
A version of this story first appeared in the June 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Syfy was shocked when Sharknado became a phenomenon in August.
"We've done 300 of these original monster and disaster movies, and we never thought there would be any people would care about like this," says Syfy Ventures vp Jeff Li, "but within 24 hours [of the first movie airing] our agency called and said, 'Somebody is interested [in doing a licensing deal],' and we saw on the news it was blowing up."
The Comcast-owned network won't be unprepared when Sharknado: The Second One premieres. Following its U.S. debut on July 30, the sequel will air in 86 countries within 24 hours, and a third TV movie is planned for next year.
"We're expanding our merchandising and licensing efforts to go along with the heightened awareness," says David Garber, a consultant for the production company The Asylum and a producer on the Sharknado sequel.
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Syfy is working with New York-based agency Earthbound to expand the brand, with 45 worldwide merchandising partners offering products including jewelry, Halloween costumes, towels, backpacks, swim trunks, mobile accessories, shot glasses and, soon, slot machines.
The top-selling items so far have been Sharknado Pop! Vinyl figures, Sharknado beach towels and Sharknado boys' pajamas.
The Sharknado merchandise is rolling out to more than 1,000 retail outlets including Hot Topic, Kmart and Walmart.
"It's by far the most popular merchandise I have ever licensed for Syfy," says Li. "Nothing comes close. The scary thing is it’s just getting started."