Budget – $27,000
Worldwide Gross -$3,894,240
Return – 7,112%
The history around Clerks has passed into film folklore, the stories of its production are infamous and Kevin Smith’s effort to claw just over $27,000 for his production costs are legendary. The foul-mouthed comedy flick rode off the back of films such as Richard Linklater’s Slacker and achieved a cult status for its endlessly quotable dialogue and lovably dour characters.
Smith intelligently played with what he had: he worked at the Quick Stop where the film is set but could only shoot at night while the store was closed, requiring a plot point for the film where the shutters would be jammed so not to show the nighttime outside. It has all the hallmarks of a classic no-budget film.
Its success perhaps lies in the fact that even today Clerks is a hilariously funny, often the dialogue is so shocking that it is funny. The infantile, bitter, vitriolic dialogue is something every spurned no-hoper male can identify with and Clerks remains the high point of Smith’s varied and uneven career.