Kevin Smith says that Harvey Weinstein refused to pay him royalties for Clerks.
The 49-year-old filmmaker sold Clerks, his first movie, to the 68-year-old disgraced film producer at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, when Harvey ran Miramax.
Harvey reportedly paid $227,000 for the movie, but they agreed that Kevin could receive a backend if the film became profitable.
Clerks went on to become a cult hit, grossing $3.2 million in North American theaters that fall, and earning tens of millions more on VHS.
“I’m still out money,” Kevin told Variety. “It took seven years for us to see any profit from that movie. For seven years, they were like: ‘Nope, the movie is still not in profit.’ And we were like, ‘How?’ And then there were things.”
Harvey also apparently used sketchy accounting methods, such as billing Clerks for the costs of renting a yacht for Pulp Fiction at the Cannes Film Festival.
“You can’t tell this fairytale story without mentioning the monster,” Kevin said while discussing his upcoming documentary Clerk.
When his lawyer said he should audit Miramax, Kevin replied, “No, I can’t audit people I’m in business with. That’s gross.” By Clerks 2, though, Kevin started auditing The Weinstein Company: “If I was a better business person, I would have gone for more money. But it felt like, ‘Oh, there it is. That’s their process. Movie math.’”
Kevin kept working with Harvey because “I got paid upfront for each movie. Believe me, I ain’t crying poor. And I got ridiculous escalating salaries.”
Clerk was supposed to debut at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, but is now on hold amid the ongoing coronavvirus crisis.
“The Harvey part of the doc was one of the last things that made it into the movie,” Kevin Smith shared. “Having watched the doc without any mention of him in it, it felt like — well, whitewashing. It felt like something was missing.”
Harvey Weinstein has reportedly recovered from the coronavirus while in prison.