Is "Space Jam 2" too late to satisfy audiences?

Space Jam dir. Joe Pytka 1996

Most of us never expected a Space Jam sequel but it's finally arriving twenty-five years after the original.

It's no surprise that the cult-status of Joe Pytka's Space Jam has skyrocketed in recent years. Popular culture has gradually transitioned from the eighties to nineties nostalgia. There are may quintessential nineties films; Clueless, Scream, High Fidelity, Clerks, American Beauty. There are certain films which simply transport us back and Space Jam is definitely one of them. 

The film is a live-action animation hybrid which sees famous basketball star Michael Jordan play alongside the iconic Looney Tunes in a basketball match to earn their freedom. It's certainly an original idea and was satisfying enough on release. Those who grew up with it have continued to champion it, stimulating demand for a belated sequel which sees the Warner Bros. characters take to the courts once again. Now, it's finally becoming a reality. 

Empire recently reported that Space Jam 2 has finally secured a release date of July 16, 2021 - twenty-five years after the release of the original film. Fulfilling Jordan's role will be basketball player LeBron James and the sequel will be produced by Black Panther's Ryan Coogler and directed by Terence Nance

Space Jam is certainly looked back on nostalgically and has developed much more of a following in recent years. However, it's hard to forecast whether the film will be a box-office success - it's just been so long since the first film. It's destined to attract attention because it's the sequel many never anticipated would become a reality, but how many would actually be interested in seeing it? The film's plot - although unconfirmed - is unlikely to deviate drastically from that of the original film, perhaps posing a retread which doesn't demand to be seen. It's also scheduled for release at the height of the Summer blockbuster, putting itself up against predictably tough competition. 

It will definitely be interesting to see the project's estimated budget, as the first film was estimated at $80 million. To ensure a comfortable return and avoid a loss, we can't expect the budget will topple over the $100 million mark. Yet, you never know; Space Jam 2 could have a wealth of ambitious surprises in store, some of them expensive. What it definitely needs is a lengthy, creative marketing campaign to stimulate interest in the lead-up to its release. Who knows, it could be the nostalgia-fest nineties kids have been yearning for. 

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