Earlier this month, Kevin Smith debuted the trailer for Clerks III, the third installment in the lives and evolutions of Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) as well as the eighth theatrical film set in the View Askewniverse, an interconnected series of movies that take place in New Jersey and feature appearances by stoners Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith himself). And according to Smith, the reaction to the trailer was much better than he expected -- both in terms of the content, and in terms of ticket sales through Fathom Events, who are hosting screenings this September.
Fathom Events, who do special screenings (usually one- or two-night events) in partnerships with various theater chains, will bring Clerks III to a wide audience in September. According to Smith, the movie already has more tickets sold than any advance screening in the company's history.
"It played very f---ing well. I was so delighted," Smith said during an episode of his podcast Fatman Beyond. "It comes out through Fathom Events screenings on September 13th and 15th. We just heard from them a report that they sold more f---ing tickets in advance than they've ever sold before. We're months out from the screening, but since the trailer went up and the tickets went on-sale, they got a lot of pre-buys for that."
You can see the full podcast below.
The movie, which is set to be distributed by Lionsgate, is Smith's first new feature film since Jay & Silent Bob Reboot, in which Brian O'Halloran's Dante Hicks, the point-of-view character in the original Clerks and its 2006 sequel, Clerks II. That movie was the last time fans got a look at Jeff Anderson's Randal Graves, who appears to be the lead in Clerks III.
Randal, who has always been something of a wish-fulfillment character for Smith himself, is set to suffer a life-threatening heart attack in the movie, as Smith did in real life. It will spur the lifelong slacker to find the one thing he likes better than working retail and making fun of his customers: he's going to make a movie.
A movie about working retail and making fun of his customers, naturally.
There have been a few different ideas for Clerks 3 over the years, with one getting so far that there was a live script reading in 2020. Smith has suggested in the past that the holdout was Jeff Anderson, who is more reluctant to return to the world of Clerks than the rest of the cast. Randal is irreplaceable, though, and without all of the leads on board, Smith has said that it's a non-starter. This time, Smith brings back Marilyn Ghigliotti, who played Dante's girlfriend Veronica in Clerks. She is the rare View Askew lead who has not been seen in another of Smith's movies since, making her return especially significant.
The first Clerks centered on one very bad day in the life of Dante Hicks, a convenience store worker who got called into work on his day off and spent the whole shift dealing with belligerent customers, freak occurrences, a sex-obsessed ex-girlfriend, and his obnoxious best friend, Randal. Clerks II saw Dante ready to settle down and get married -- but secretly in love with someone else, and dealing with the reality that he has one day to decide where his heart lies.
Clerks 3 will be released this fall.