CLERKS was shown at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, where the film won the Filmmaker's Trophy. It was reported as having the smallest budget of any film entered in the festival that year. The budget was estimated at a mere $27,000.
The film was also the surprise comedy hit at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
The filmmaker, Kevin Smith, worked at the Quick Stop in Leonardo, New Jersey during production. The film was shot there, and at the RST Video next door. Smith was only allowed to shoot at night, when the store was closed--hence the closed shutters, which are explained away in the script.
The budget for the film is reported to have been $27,575 by Smith's ViewAskew Productions. Smith financed the film with credit cards, his Quick Stop earnings, family assistance, and by selling his comic book collection. When the film was a success, he bought back the comics (and bought himself a comics shop). The soundtrack rights cost more than the production costs.
The film was originally rated MPAA NC-17 for language, but the rating was appealed and changed with the help of Alan Dershowitz.
In an alternate ending to the film, Dante is shot in a holdup. This scene is available on the DVD version.
Jeff Anderson (Randal) and Lisa Spoonauer (Caitlin), who met on the set, were subsequently married.
CLERKS: THE ANIMATED SERIES, a cartoon based on the film, ran for only two episodes in 2000.
The CLERKS logo on the film poster is made of letters clipped from various convenience-store products: the "C" is from Cosmopolitan magazine, the "L" from Life cereal, the "E" from Rolling Stone magazine, the "R" from Ruffles potato chips, the "K" from Clark Bar candy, and the "S" from Goobers candy.
"The real tragedy is that I'm not even supposed to be here today!"--Dante (Brian O'Halloran)