When Kevin Smith came on the seen with the 1994 indie hit Clerks it was the start of a Hollywood career that is still going to this day. Of course, like most filmmakers, not all of his movie have been critical successes the way Clerks was. In fact, it's difficult to argue that some of his films haven't been, honestly, pretty bad. However, the critical drubbing the writer and director has taken hasn't stopped him from continuing to work pretty consistently.
Recently, somebody on social media decided to tag Kevin Smith when pointing out that Smith has continued to have a personally successful career even when some of his movies are viewed as anything but, claiming that the on-screen Silent Bob gets "a pass for mediocrity." Smith responded to the complaint in good humor, and actually had a pretty solid explanation for his success. He works cheap. See Smith's response below.
Far from getting a pass for mediocrity, Kevin Smith argues on Twitter that the movies he makes that critics don't love, including the likes of Tusk and Yoga Hosers, have resulted in pretty harsh criticism from those quarters. Of course, some of these movies have bombed so hard that it could, at least in theory, have had an impact on Smith, making studios hesitant to work with him.
Kevin Smith says the reason that hasn't been the case is very simple. He tends to make cheap movies. While his budgets for his more recent films certainly dwarf the likes of Clerks, in the end, the fact is that if a studio makes a movie with him. it's not risking a massive amount of money. A relatively modest hit can still be profitable, and if the movie is a flop, little has been lost. His track record probably hasn't put him in line to make a Marvel or Star Wars movie any time soon, but making the movies he likes to make is much more possible.
At the end of the day, Hollywood is a business, and so the real question is not "Was the movie good?" but rather "Did the movie make money?" A movie that bombs with critics isn't a big deal as long as people still spent money to see it. While none of the movies being singled out in this tweet were exactly box office smashes, Jersey Girl made its production budget back, and Cop Out nearly doubled its budget despite the rough reviews.
And Kevin Smith still has the history of making movies that were big hits, and so any studio might be willing to give the man a few bucks to try and recreate that magic. This is why Clerks III is likely to be a thing one day.
There are probably a lot of people who would love to have the long, mediocre movie career that Kevin Smith has seen. Now, you know the secret.