On Instagram last week, Kevin Smith revealed that Clerks III and Mallrats 2 – the sequels to his cult classic comedies from the 1990s – aren’t happening anymore. And now, in the latest episode of SModcast, Smith has revealed extra details about what happened.
The story of Clerks III’s demise remains the same: one of the four core cast members didn’t want to do it, which meant Smith’s hands were tied.
But the story of Mallrats 2 is a little more complicated than Smith first let on. The rights to the Mallrats property are owned by Universal, and in the first place, Smith believed the slacker sequel would get made one of three ways:
1) Solely through Universal itself, with the studio handling all the financial stuff.
2) As part of a co-production, with Universal sharing the financial burden with Smith, his producing partners and their companies.
3) Solely through Smith and his cohorts, without Universal’s involvement. If the studio wasn’t interested, couldn’t they just give Smith the rights?
But Smith was under the wrong impression there. This is what he found out when he turned in a script for Mallrats 2…
“Apparently in the history of this company, Universal, they have never released a catalogue title […] that means you can’t go make it on your own. The version of this movie where like, oh, they just give you the title, you pay for it maybe, and you go off and make the movie yourself. They’ve never. They consider themselves a catalogue warehouse and a studio, and they’ve never let go of a single property in the history of Universal – once they own it, they own it.
“It’s theirs, and that would break policy and precedent for them to go ‘take this movie and do what you want with it.’”
This meant that Universal had to be involved in the making of the film, even if Smith could find other financing (which he surely could). The option of Smith going off and making it himself was off the table.
The studio, which Smith notes is a bit more interested in Fast And Furious movies than indie flicks right now, pointed Smith in the direction of Focus and Focus World, the arms of their operation that would probably be the best fit.
“Focus World was most interested in making it a feature,” Smith added, “and then in the midst of that I met with Universal Television about something unrelated. We got to talking about Mallrats, and I was like ‘it’s owned by this studio’ and they fell in love with it like ‘oh my god I loved Mallrats when I was a kid… can you turn it into a TV show?”
Smith liked the idea of stretching it out, and with Universal Television, he “went and pitched it to six places” which “include the usual suspects.” One of these places was Netflix.
Smith continued: “And while people were like ‘oh my god, I love Mallrats!’ at every meeting and stuff, ultimately, ‘pass’, at every place. Like, ‘nah.’”
Ultimately, Smith can’t make Mallrats 2 in any format without Universal. And the route Univeral wanted to go down – pitching it to TV networks – ended up being fruitless.
Smith is now working on Jay And Silent Bob Reboot, which has no such legal snafus. He owns the rights to those characters and can do whatever he wants them.
Smith did mention that his Clerks III and Mallrats 2 scripts could become comic books someday – we’ll be sure to let you know as we hear more about that.
That SModcast link again is here.