The original “Space Jam” was not a good movie.
For my birthday a couple of years ago I was gifted a DVD edition of the classic 1996 live-action film featuring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. After watching the film for the first time in a couple decades, it played out as most kids programming does — hard to follow, jumpy, with logic gaps wider than the chasms Road Runner tricks Wile E. Coyote into plunging over.
But nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and pre-production on “Space Jam 2” with Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is underway.
The second film will be directed by Terrence Nance and produced by “Black Panther” producer Ryan Coogler, both of whom naturally have high hopes for the project. In fact, Nance is so confident about it that he issued a pretty big statement while speaking to Vice.
“Pretty sure [it’s] going to disrupt everything,” he told me in the fall of last year. “I’m excited about what […] that movie can be.”
Nance’s response was a wider reaction to a question about “Space Jam 2” challenging the idea of traditional masculinity. What that means in Nance’s eyes could certainly be interesting, especially given the gap of time between the two movies.
I don’t have any doubts about the second film being better than the 1996 original strictly as a piece of cinema. I don’t think LeBron’s going to be able to beat out MJ in terms of pure nostalgia, and the box office totals might be close. The original recorded somewhere around $230 million in ticket sales.
Never underestimate us Millennials and our deep desire to spend money on things likes movies as a means to salve our deeper wounds. That includes harkening back to the mid-90s when global terrorism wasn’t at the forefront, guys from “Home Alone” weren’t running for president, and student loan debt was all but a distant fever dream.
Production on “Space Jam 2” is set to start this summer.