Back in 2014, while Asylum Pictures was developing Sharknado 3, Ian Ziering reportedly refused to return to the “franchise” without a pay raise. At the time, he was being paid a whopping $400,000 a picture, and even conceded that he took the role in the first picture only because he needed it to maintain his SAG membership and the health insurance that came with it.
Apparently, Ziering was awarded that raise. The Hollywood Reporter has a lot of fun behind-the-scenes intel about the Sharknado series — including the fact that now President Donald Trump threatened to shut down Sharknado 3 because he was replaced by Mark Cuban — but one that sticks out is the fact that Ziering is now paid $500,000 per film.
To put that in context, the film cost around $3 million to make, which means that one-sixth of the entire budget goes to a C-list star best known as the 5th billed series regular of a 1990s teen soap opera. Sharknado 4 was seen by 2.7 million people, so Ziering gets paid about twenty cents for every live viewer, which clearly means that Ziering is a loss leader for the franchise.