Released by Warner Bros. in November 1996, Space Jam combines live-action sports stars with the animated icons of Looney Tunes in a story that follows basketball player Michael Jordan as himself during his first retirement from the NBA. However, his retirement — and disastrous baseball career — is interrupted by the Looney Tunes when they enlist Jordan to help them escape imprisonment at an intergalactic amusement park run by Mr. Swackhammer (Danny DeVito) and his minions, the Nerdlucks.
Although Space Jam received largely negative reviews at the time of its release, it went on to earn more than $230 million at the worldwide box office — becoming the highest grossing basketball movie of all time — and the movie’s iconic song, “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly, earned two Grammy Awards. As a result, Space Jam carved out a place in pop culture history and the film is still beloved by many. Now, for those who may have been too young to see the movie in theaters or simply want to revisit the film on the big screen, Space Jam is getting a theatrical re-release in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary.
Fathom Events [h/t Cartoon Brew] announced a two-day event featuring Space Jam’s theatrical re-release in select theaters around the United States on Sunday November 13th at 2pm and 6pm as well as Wednesday November 16 at 7pm. The feature will be preceded by the animated Looney Tunes short I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat that originally premiered with Happy Feet Two in 2011.
While the re-release isn’t necessarily a return to the Space Jam property with new material, Hollywood hasn’t been shy in reviving, rebooting, or remaking plenty of beloved films and franchises of the ’80s and ’90s in recent years. The majority of these revivals seem to be big blockbuster franchises like Jurassic Park, Terminator, Star Wars, and Mad Max — to varying levels of success — but Space Jam isn’t escaping the continuation/reboot treatment.
Reports of a potential Space Jam sequel go back to 2012 when more recent basketball star LeBron James (Trainwreck) voiced interest in starring in a followup to the ’90s classic. However, Space Jam 2 didn’t seem to truly be in development until earlier this year it was reported that James is expected to star in the sequel for Warner Bros with Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin attached as a producer. Still, since that report surfaced, there has been little forward movement on the project, though both Jordan and original film director Joe Pytka have commented on the potential sequel.
That said, with Space Jam getting a theatrical re-release this fall, perhaps Warner Bros. is waiting to see how much potential the film has at the box office 20 years after its initial premiere. If the re-release is a success, it may prompt Warners to move Space Jam 2 into more active development. Still, no matter Warner Bros’ motivations behind the Space Jam re-release, it will give fans a chance to experience the beloved sports comedy in theaters once again.
Space Jam returns to select U.S. theaters Sunday November 13 and Wednesday November 16 2016.
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