- This article is about the film. For the song of the same name, see Space Jam (song).
Space Jam is a 1996 Sports Comedy film starring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters. The film was produced by Ivan Reitman, and directed by Joe Pytka, with Tony Cervone and Bruce W. Smith directing the animation. The film was released theatrically by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment on November 15th, 1996.
It plays out as a fictional account of Michael's initial retirement from and return to the NBA, this time with him being inspired by Bugs Bunny and friends. The film also marked the debut appearance of Lola Bunny. Space Jam was a box office success, opening at #1 in the U.S., and grossing over $230,000,000 worldwide.
In 1993, professional basketball player, Michael Jordan announces his retirement from the NBA to follow in his father's footsteps and turns to a career in baseball. Meanwhile, The Nerdlucks, a group of criminal aliens led by their boss, Mr. Swackhammer, plot to capture the Looney Tunes, who really exist in a secret animated world called Looney Tune Land, and make them their newest attractions at Moron Mountain, a failing amusement park. Swackhammer believes enslaving the Tunes in this way will bring in more customers and save Moron Mountain from foreclosure.
They arrive in Tune Land, and since the aliens aren't very intelligent or tall, the Tunes bargain for their freedom by challenging the Nerdlucks to a basketball game. To ensure their victory, the Nerdlucks return to Earth and steal the talent of Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradley, who are rendered incapable of playing basketball as a result. The Nerdlucks use the stolen talent to transform into gigantic creatures—now called The Monstars that the Looney Tunes are unable to defeat.
To help them win, the Tunes choose, abduct and recruit Michael, and he reluctantly agrees after the Monstars squash him into the shape of a basketball and bounce him around like one. A tomboyishly beautiful new arrival named Lola Bunny is added to the team thanks to her amazing talent. Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny go to Michael's house to collect what he needs to play, barely dodging his dog, Charles. Michael's publicist Stan Podolak sees Bugs and Daffy return to Tune Land and follows them, and stays to support Michael, whose team will be called the Tune Squad.
Despite Michael's leadership, the Monstars dominate the first half of the game. After sneaking into the Monstars' locker room and being detected despite hiding in a locker and scorched as a result, Stan informs the Tune Squad that the Monstars stole the talent from the NBA players. Bugs then motivates the team with a special drink, and the Monstars' commanding lead is reduced to a significantly smaller margin. Seeing Swackhammer is grumpy that the Monstars did not steal Michael's talent, Michael takes the chance to raise the stakes. If the Tune Squad wins, the Monstars must give the NBA players their talent back, but if they lose, then Swackhammer is to spare the Looney Tunes in exchange for Michael. He readily accepts it and Bugs tries to talk him out of it, all the while being aware of what it means if Michael is subjected to humiliation on Moron Mountain for all time.
As the game resumes, the Monstars, under orders from Swackhammer, begin playing even dirtier than before. As a result, the Looney Tunes are injured, one by one, until only Michael, Bugs, Lola and Daffy are left, leaving them short one player. Reluctantly, Michael puts Stan in the game, and though he is quickly taken out of action, the Monstars' lead is now down to one. Marvin The Martian, who is the referee, tells them that if there is no fifth player, the team will forfeit the game. At the last second, Bill Murray (who Swackhammer incorrectly identifies as Dan Aykroyd, his Ghostbusters co-star) appears in the stadium and joins the team, breaking the fourth wall along the way.
With only seconds left, Bill pulls some clever manueuvering and gets the ball to Michael. Extending his arm to superhuman lengths (since the laws of physics work differently in Tune Land), Michael makes the basket and wins the game. He helps the Monstars realize that they're bigger than Mister Swackhammer, who confronts them for losing. Fed up with their abusive boss, the Monstars tie him up to a rocket and send him to the moon. At Michael's request, they reluctantly return the stolen talent to the other players by transferring them to a basketball, which is how they stored the stolen talent earlier in the film. This reverts the Monstars back to the tiny Nerdlucks. Refusing to return to Moron Mountain, the Nerdlucks decide to stay with the Looney Tunes, who only agree if the Nerdlucks can prove themselves to be 'Looney', which they arguably complete on the spot.
Afterwards, Michael returns to Earth in the Nerdlucks' spaceship, where he makes a dramatic appearance at a basketball game to the cheers of the audience, despite being late. The next morning, Michael gives the stolen talent back to the NBA players, who immediately regain their lost skills. Michael is later prompted by his rivals to return to the NBA, mirroring his real-life comeback with the Chicago Bulls.
- Michael Jordan as himself
- Wayne Knight as Stan Podolak
- Bill Murray as himself
- Larry Bird as himself
- Del Harris as himself
- Charles Barkley as himself
- Patrick Ewing as himself
- Shawn Bradley as himself
- Larry Johnson as himself
- Muggsy Bogues as himself
- Dan Castellaneta as male New York Knicks fan
- Patricia Heaton as female New York Knicks fan
- Theresa Randle as Juanita Jordan
- Manner Washington as Jeffrey Jordan
- Eric Gordon as Marcus Jordan
- Penny Bridges as Jasmine Jordan
- Thom Barry as James Jordan
- Brandon Hammond as 10-year-old Michael Jordan
- Bugs Bunny
- Elmer Fudd
- Lola Bunny
- Daffy Duck
- Porky Pig
- Sylvester The Cat
- Speedy Gonzales
- Tweety Bird
- Charlie Dog
- The Tasmanian Devil
- Yosemite Sam
- Cecil Turtle
- Hippety Hopper
- Penelope Pussycat
- Pepé Le Pew
- Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner
- Billy West as Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
- Dee Bradley Baker as Daffy Duck, The Tasmanian Devil, Toro the Bull
- Bob Bergen as Porky Pig, Marvin The Martian, Tweety Bird, Hubie and Bertie
- Bill Farmer as The Road Runner, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester The Cat
- June Foray as Granny
- Maurice LaMarche as Pepé Le Pew
- Kath Soucie as Lola Bunny
- Jocelyn Blue as Nerdluck Pound
- Charity James as Nerdluck Blanko
- June Melby as Nerdluck Bang
- Catherine Reitman as Nerdluck Bupkus
- Colleen Wainwright as Sniffles, Nerdluck Nawt
- Darnell Suttles as Monstar Pound
- Steve Kehela as Announcer, Monstar Blanko
- Joey Camen as Monstar Bang
- Dorian Harewood as Monstar Bupkus
- T.K. Carter as Monstar Nawt
- Danny DeVito as Mr. Swackhammer
- Frank W. Welker as Charles the Bulldog
The soundtrack sold enough albums to be certified as 6x Platinum. It also served as a high point for musical artist R. Kelly, whose song "I Believe I Can Fly" became a hit after it was featured on the film's soundtrack. Other tracks included a cover of "Fly Like an Eagle" (by Seal), "Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem)" (by B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Method Man), "Basketball Jones" (by Chris Rock & Barry White), and "For You I Will" (by Monica). The movie's theme song was performed by the Quad City DJ's.
Space Jam received negative-to-mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 35% based on 49 reviews. Roger Ebert gave Space Jam a "thumbs up," which his partner, Gene Siskel, also gave the film, although his zeal was more subdued. Todd McCarthy of Variety praised the film for its humor. He also praised the Looney Tunes' antics and Michael's acting. Although Janet Maslin of The New York Times criticized the film's animation, she later went on to say that the film is a "fond tribute to [the Looney Tunes characters'] past."
Veteran Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones was highly critical of the film. In a 1998 interview, he expressed his views that the film was "terrible" and said, as a man who worked with the characters for almost thirty years, the story was deeply flawed. "I can tell you, with the utmost confidence," he said, "Porky Pig would never say 'I think I wet myself'". He also added that, were the film more true to the source material, Bugs Bunny wouldn't need anyone's help (let alone Michael Jordan's) in dealing with the Monstars, and that he would be able to so in a 7-minute short rather than a 90-minute movie.
Space Jam was a box office success. At the end of its run, it grossed $90,418,342 in the United States and over $230,000,000 internationally.
- 1997 and 1998 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
- Won: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures (Diane Warren for the song "For You I Will")
- Won: Top Box Office Films (James Newton Howard)
- 1997 Annie Awards
- Won: Best Individual Achievement: Technical Achievement
- Nomination: Best Animated Feature
- Nomination: Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a Feature Production (Bruce W. Smith and Tony Cervone)
- Nomination: Best Individual Achievement: Producing in a Feature Production (Ron Tippe)
- 1998 Grammy Awards
- Won: Best Song Written Specifically for Motion Picture or for Television (R. Kelly) (For the Song I Believe I Can Fly)
- 1997 MTV Movie Awards
- Nomination: Best Movie Song (R. Kelly) (For the Song I Believe I Can Fly)
- 1997 Satellite Awards
- Nomination: Best Motion Picture- Animated or Mixed Media (Daniel Goldberg, Joe Medjuck, Ivan Reitman)
- 1998 World Animation Celebration
- Won: Best Use of Animation in a Motion Picture Trailer
- 1997 Young Artist Awards
- Nomination: Best Family Feature- Animation or Special Effects
In Other Media
The Monstars from Pinky and the Brain make a cameo in the episode "Star Warners".
- Aside from using the old school Looney Tunes sound effects, the movie also uses Hanna-Barbera sound effects all remade for the movie.
- Yosemite Sam, Barnyard Dawg, Speedy Gonzales, and Witch Hazel were used to have a silent role, after just saying only one quote.
In February 2014, Warner Bros. announced a sequel which is set to star LeBron James. Charlie Ebersol will produce through his production company, The Company, with a script by his brother, Willie Ebersol. Jon Berg will executive produce. Representatives of James denied the claim that he would be involved. In May 2014, James was quoted as saying, "I've always loved Space Jam. It was one of my favorite movies growing up. If I have the opportunity, it will be great." In July 2015, James and his production company, SpringHill Entertainment, signed a deal with Warner Bros. for television, movies, and digital content after receiving positive reviews for his acting role in Trainwreck. On May 2, 2016, Justin Lin was said to be in talks to direct the sequel; co-writing the screenplay with Andrew Dodge, and Alfredo Botello.
- ↑ Busch, Anita (February 21, 2014). Ebersols Aboard To Produce And Script Warner Bros' 'Space Jam 2′ As A Starring Vehicle For LeBron James. Deadline. Retrieved on February 21, 2014.
- ↑ Moore, Matt (February 21, 2014). Report: No 'Space Jam 2' planned for LeBron James. CBS Sports. Retrieved on May 3, 2016.
- ↑ Space Jam 2 Rumors: NBA MVPs Rumored To Clash As LeBron James And Kevin Durant To Star In Sequel! KD To Tune Squad And LBJ To Monstars?. KDrama Stars (May 16, 2014). Retrieved on May 29, 2014.
- ↑ LeBron James signs with Warner Bros., stokes rumors of 'Space Jam' sequel. Los Angeles Times (July 22, 2015). Retrieved on July 22, 2015.
- ↑ LeBron James: I’ll help pay for hundreds of kids to go to college. TODAY.com.
- ↑ Trumbore, Dave (August 14, 2015). LeBron James Hopeful for 'Great Things' in 'Space Jam 2′. Collider.
- ↑ Ford, Rebecca (May 2, 2016). Justin Lin Circling 'Space Jam' Sequel Starring LeBron James (Exclusive). The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on May 3, 2016.
|The Looney Tunes films|
|Adventures of the Road-Runner|
|Bugs Bunny: Superstar | Chuck Amuck: The Movie|
|Greatest Hits retrospectives|
|Centering on Bugs Bunny|
|The Bugs Bunny Road-Runner Movie | The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie | Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales | The Looney Tunes Hall of Fame|
|Centering on Daffy Duck|
|Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island | Daffy Duck's Quackbusters|
|Original cinematic material|
|Space Jam | Looney Tunes: Back in Action | Speedy Gonzales (film) | Pepe Le Pew (film) | Marvin the Martian (film) | Bugs Bunny (film) | Space Jam 2|
|Tweety's High Flying Adventure | Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas | Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run|
|Two Guys from Texas | My Dream Is Yours | It's a Great Feeling | Animalympics | Who Framed Roger Rabbit? | Gremlins 2: The New Batch | Justice League: The New Frontier|