I think I speak for nearly everyone here when I say that Kevin Smith’s once vaunted career has recently taken a dramatic – DRAMATIC – turn straight up into WTF-ville. So right now, I’m not exactly excited for much the once fan-favourite filmmaker has to offer. Because y’know: Nazi sausages. One project I used to have some hype for was Mallrats 2, the sequel to Smith’s cult classic 1995 comedy starring Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, Jason Mewes, Smith himself and more (with one of the earliest Stan Lee cameos in movie history) which taught us to never trust chocolate covered pretzels. Smith revealed last year that he was in fact working on a follow-up movie, and even had a title for the movie all lined up – Mallbrats – but it appears that some plans have changed.
Appearing on a Philadelphia morning radio show (via Screenrant), Smith explained that things were not as “in production” with Mallbrats as it may have have appeared, mainly thanks to some film title rights issues that needed to be worked out with Universal Pictures, who released the movie two decades ago
The way I do things is I start talking about them until they’re true. So when I started talking about Mallrats , there was nobody involved except me. Then I brought the cast together and then the script and everything. And the one component that was missing was Universal, the studio. I called my agency and I said, ‘Hey, man, can I just make a Mallrats sequel? Universal owns it. Do I really need to make it with Universal? Can I just write a script and maybe buy the title from them or something?’ The agent told me, ‘Yeah, absolutely. They’ll let it go.’ And I was like ‘Are you positive? I don’t want to start this and that’s not the case.’ And he’s like ‘Yeah, there’s three ways in which you can make this movie. You finance it yourself, you finance it with the studio, or they finance it. But since it’s an old movie and it’s a very small title, it’ll probably be you financing it yourself.’ Right on. Fantastic. That’s what I like to hear. Nobody can stop me from self-expressing.
So I wrote my script, put everything together, and then I was like, ‘I’m ready to go. Do I have to reach out to Universal for approval or something? Or let them pass or whatever?’ And he’s like ‘Yeah, we have to submit the script.’ And I’m like ‘Why do we have to submit the script?’ And he says, ‘Because they own the property and it’s a formality. It’s gonna be fine.’
So we submitted the script, and my agent comes back to me and he goes, ‘Well, apparently Universal has never let a catalog title go. Any title they own, they’ve retained. They’ve never done something where they’ve been like, oh, you can take it back and go make a sequel. Never in the history of the studio.’ And I was like ‘Wait, you told me that was one of my options.’ And he said, ‘Well, apparently I was wrong. So right now there’s two options, you make it fully, the studio finances it or you co-finance it with the studio.’
So we entered into a protracted negotiation with Universal, trying to get it made in different pockets of the studio. And I haven’t told anybody this, so I guess this is kind of an exclusive…it is happening, but it’s just taking a longer time to build it. What we did was reconfigured it. Mallrats is a 20 year old movie. And the idea of sequelizing a 20 year old movie, some people are just like ‘Why would you bother? It wasn’t successful the first time. What did you make the first time, $2 million? I don’t know if the world is screaming out for this.’
So where does that leave Mallrats 2? Well, as Smith indicated it’s being reconfigured, and in this case that new configuration is a 10-episode TV series. And it’s all thanks to a certain scarlet speedster.
However, I went and directed an episode of The Flash last season, I loved doing it, I get to go back in August and do another one. But when I went up there, that was kind of a weird gamechanger in my career. Apparently that’s like the best work I’ve done in a long time. Not just the internet but the press were like ‘This is the best thing he’s ever done.’ So I felt at home in the medium. Because I did the episode of The Flash, MGM reached out about Bucakroo Bonzai, and suddenly that came together we went out and pitched yesterday and found a home for it. I can’t say who it is yet since we don’t have a finalized deal yet. But we sold Buckaroo Bonzai yesterday.
While I’m in that world and space, a couple months ago, we started reconfiguring the idea of doing Mallrats not as a film, but as a series. Universal and I are just about to close our deal to do Mallrats the series, and then we take it out into the world and find a home for it. So instead of doing a Mallrats movie, I’m gonna do 10 episodes of a Mallrats series.
Firstly, I would have to agree that Smith’s episode of The Flash was indeed the best thing he’s done in years. Secondly, so that whole Buckaroo Bonzai remake thing is actually happening? Damn. And thirdly, I could actually get behind a Mallrats TV series. Its offbeat humour and antics feels like it could be a much better fit scale-wise on television, but it will all be dependent though on the network and how much free rein they give Smith. Also the geeky commentary and pop-culture humour that typified the original movie should actually find a much bigger audience in a post-Marvel Studios world than it did back in 1995, so they may just be onto something here.
Would you be up for a Mallrats TV series or do you think it’s too late to try and rekindle that fire? Or maybe you just want to know what’s in that damn 3D pic? Hint: it’s maybe a sailboat.
Last Updated: June 13, 2016