Kevin Smith has come a long way since 1994 when he appeared for the first time as the tight-lipped character Silent Bob. Over the past 20 years, the screenwriter, actor, producer, and director has released a number of cult classics, all featuring that same stoic character. And while Mallrats, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back each have their fans, it probably wouldn’t be wrong to say that none of them have made as much of an impact as his first film, Clerks.

Filmed after hours in the convenience store where Smith worked, Clerks cost only $30,000 to make but went on to earn $3 million in very limited release, winning two awards at the Sundance Film Festival as well as nominations for three more at the Independent Spirit Awards. Needless to say, Smith’s low-budget film was a surprise success, paving the way for a sequel. Clerks 2 in 2006 upped the ante budget-wise, costing $5 million to make and grossing $24 million in wide release.

And yet eight years later, it appears that The Weinstein Company, who owns to the rights to the series, is no longer interested in attempting to repeat history. Smith had hoped to continue his story and shoot Clerks 3 this May, even bringing actress Rosario Dawson back from Clerks 2, but according to the director, those plans have stalled now that the film studio has passed on the project for budgetary reasons.

Smith recently told ScreenDaily the news, saying:

“[The Weinsteins] passed. I went in with a $6 million budget and they were like, ‘Oh no, Kevin. This is too high.’ Bob offered us distribution, but they weren’t going to finance it.”

It’s unclear now what will become of the long-awaited and highly anticipated third film in the Clerks franchise. Earlier this year, Smith had told fans on Reddit that “CLERKS III is still coming. I love the script so much, I’ll make it happen, I promise.” Whether this is still the case or if it’s even possible for him to lower the budget or raise the money himself, we’ll have to wait and see. One thing’s for sure, Smith has proven over time that he is nothing if not resourceful.

For now, though, Smith remains busy promoting his upcoming horror film, Tusk. Due in theaters later this year, the writer-director is already working on a spinoff called Yoga-Hosers, based on “two characters in a convenience store in ‘Tusk’ that you see for five minutes, very much Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.” So with a seemingly endless amount of projects around him, like Comes the Krampus, it could be a while before we hear more about Clerks 3.

What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Are you disappointed that Clerks 3 has stalled? Let us know in the comments.

Stay tuned for more Clerks 3news as it becomes available.

Source: ScreenDaily (via Variety)