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How Much Did Kevin Smith's Clerks Actually Make At The Box Office?

The first "Clerks" film looked at the world of minimum wage drudgery with a jaded but heartfelt point of view while also launching the View Askew shared universe of director Kevin Smith. This would come to include future efforts like "Chasing Amy," "Mallrats," and "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back." Now, 15 years after "Clerks II," "Clerks III" will again bring fans back to the View Askewniverse.

This time the plot focuses on a middle-aged Randal (Jeff Anderson) having a heart attack and realizing he needs to do something with his life beyond working at the Quick Stop with Dante (Brian O'Halloran). Therefore he makes his own movie, with Kevin Smith telling Vanity Fair, "Our boys essentially wind up making 'Clerks.'"

But "Clerks" didn't actually make a lot of money, though it was a success, considering the budget only amounted to a paltry $27,500. Here's more about how much "Clerks" made at the box office and why the movie became such a phenomenon.

Clerks was an indie hit even if it didn't make a lot of money

"Clerks" made a total of $3 million in theaters (via Box Office Mojo). That isn't a lot compared to other box office hits of the period, but relative to the very small budget, $3 million is a big success. This was an especially impressive result, as the film only received a limited release, meaning the average gross per theater must have been extremely high (per IMDb).

It also received extremely positive reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes, and as Billboard reports, had a successful soundtrack. The home video release was also a hit, cementing the movie's place as a staple of indie film history. And though "Clerks II" was only mildly successful financially (per Box Office Mojo), "Clerks III" may have an even bigger built-in audience now thanks to Kevin Smith's recent history as a podcaster and Internet personality.

Smith himself seems grateful for how "Clerks" changed his life: "These characters are so close to my heart, and finally letting them take the journey that they sent me on is a big deal for me. Without Dante and Randal, I'm not where I am," he told Vanity Fair.

While we wait for the Quick Stop to return in "Clerks III," you can currently stream the original "Clerks" on HBO Max.