Space Jam is a successful sports comedy movie that featured basketball star Michael Jordan and cartoon character Bugs Bunny. Released in 1996, the Space Jam movie became a classic film of these two most iconic figures in the 20th century with its animation and live acting.
Bugs Bunny, a cartoon rabbit made by Warner Bros., is known as one of the top cartoon heroes when America achieved its golden animation period. Bugs Bunny’s popularity endured through the years compared to other cartoon personalities.
Interestingly, the flick also brought some of the characters of the animated short film series Looney Tunes and other top players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) of the 1990s. The movie’s year of release also coincided with Jordan being named as one of the 50 greatest basketball players of all time.
In 2009, the Chicago Bulls famed player became an awardee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Space Jam, directed by Joe Pytka, was about the tale of underdogs who overcame the trials and made it to the winning game after they got the top basketball players on the land. Eventually, they won against the monster enemies.
In 2021, the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy was also released by Warner Bros. Instead of deciding to bring back Jordan, the movie featured his apparent heir—LeBron James.
Some cool and interesting facts about the Space Jam movie
1. Space Jam movie producers construct a gymnasium for Michael Jordan to train on after film shoots
Just after Michael Jordan made a comeback to the NBA games from minor league baseball, the Space Jam movie was filmed.
According to film producer Ivan Reitman, they constructed a temporary gym on the Warner Bros. property so that Jordan could still have time to train in basketball. The gym was called “Jordan Dome”. The gym was the reason why Jordan remained physically fit and motivated for the games despite his shooting schedules for the film.
At the indoor gym, Jordan played with Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal, and Magic Johnson, among others.
“Every evening after shooting was done, he’d have this whole very complex workout regimen, after which there was a 90-minute game,” Rietman said.
“While out in L.A., [Jordan] basically let it be known that any of the NBA guys who were in town should come and play with him…They had unbelievable games all summer long,” added Steve Kerr, the former teammate of Jordan.
2. Space Jam did not get good ratings by film critics, yet the movie still turned into a box-office hit
Space Jam only got 36 percent from the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. On the other hand, Roger Ebert only rated the film 3.5 out of four stars. Yet, the movie grossed $90.4 million in the United States alone. Elsewhere in the world, the film got $230 million.
This is interesting because the entire Space Jam movie production only cost $90 million. In this manner, Space Jam became the highest-grossing basketball movie ever.
3. Space Jam movie was coupled with profitable merchandise
Space Jam also went with lots of merchandise for the movie fans. This wide range of products almost reached over 70 items. The merchandise includes candies, a mini-bust of Michael Jordan, and shower curtains, among others. Some $1.2 billion worth of merchandise tied up to the film were sold in the market. The products were so famous that one store outlet still managed to sell Space Jam merchandise in 2014, some 18 years after the film became a hit.
4. Space Jam’s soundtrack is a big hit
Aside from the film itself, Space Jam’s soundtrack was also a huge hit. It sold over 6 million copies. The musicians Monica, Coolio, Quad City DJ’s, and Seal, among others.
The soundtrack’s huge hit was “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly. The song brought three Grammy Awards to the artist. The movie soundtrack became the 69th-best-selling-album in the 1990s.
5. Space Jam movie came to be after the idea of Michael Jordan’s agent
David Falk, the agent of Michael Jordan during that time, went to Warner Bros. to share the idea of having a film featuring Jordan. The idea came out after the Nike commercial “Hare Jordan” also became a hit when it was shown in the 1992 Super Bowl.
6. Michael Jordan was with comedy actors in green suits during the film shooting
Director Joe Pytka had comedy-troupe members in green outfits as part of the animated film. Jordan interacted with them as if he was conversing with Bugs Bunny and company during the film shooting. The comedy actors had to run across Jordan while on their knees so Jordan could talk with them as animated characters.
7. Cleveland watched “Space Jam: A New Legacy” movie more than other cities in United States
The people of Cleveland loved the movie sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy”. They watched the movie more than any other city in America on the first weekend of the film’s release.
The sequel earned $162.8 million across the globe, with a budget of $150 million. The film was also shown on HBO Max simultaneously.
8. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” original movie director was replaced
The movie sequel’s original director Terence Nance was replaced by another director to complete the film. Nance started the shooting in June 2019, however, he left the movie set on July 16 of the same year, citing some “creative differences.” The director who replaced Nance was Malcolm D. Lee.
9. Space Jam movie director Joe Pytka was not happy with the sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy”
Space Jam movie director Joe Pytka was not all-pleased with the sequel to his movie. According to reports, Pytka even despised the new film, saying that LeBron was not a “transcendent figure” like Michael Jordan. The movie director also commented on the role of Bugs Bunny’s in the sequel as “heartbreaking.”
10. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” movie composer was replaced
The film initially hired the legendary composer Hans Zimmer in January 2020. Yet, the setup was changed when the production house announced in April of the same year that Kris Bowers would be the “co-composer” in the “Space Jam: A New Legacy” movie sequel. Ultimately, Zimmer no longer became the composer by January of 2021. Bowers then turned himself into the only composer in the movie.