Like Mike? Sizing up LeBron James’ shot at ‘Space Jam 2'
In many ways, LeBron James has already followed in the Nike-clad footsteps of Michael Jordan: He wears No. 23, has won multiple NBA championships and has transcended mere sports stardom to become a global one-man brand.
With the recent announcement that James has inked a production deal with Warner Bros., the Cleveland Cavaliers star sent basketball and movie fans alike into a tizzy with the prospect that he might be like Mike in one more way — by making a new “Space Jam” movie.
Warner Bros. is the studio that made the original sports-themed Jordan-meets-Looney-Tunes big-screen comedy, which grossed $230 million worldwide back in 1996, and James has been associated by some with a potential sequel in the past. So far nothing official has materialized, and Warners has declined to comment about the possibility of a “Space Jam 2.”
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Even so, considering contemporary Hollywood’s penchant for revisiting and repackaging well-known intellectual properties, it would hardly be surprising if Warner Bros. and James’ camp were exploring a “Space Jam” project on at least a preliminary level.
James, after all, has recently received fine notices for his first big-screen role, playing an exaggerated version of himself in the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck,” while also serving as an executive producer on the Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse.”
He has expressed interest in a “Space Jam"-like movie in the past too. In 2013, when asked by a fan on Twitter if he had ever considered such a project, he replied, “Think about it a lot. Would be great!”
In recent years, reports and rumors have linked — and unlinked — James and a new “Space Jam.” In 2014, Deadline Hollywood reported that Charlie Ebersol and Willie Ebersol (sons of veteran broadcasting executive Dick Ebersol) were developing “Space Jam 2" as a starring vehicle for James.
ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst, who has followed James’ career closely, refuted the report at the time, citing unnamed sources. On Wednesday, though, Windhorst tweeted that various production companies have tried to get James on board for a “Space Jam” reboot in the past.
Fanning the flames of speculation, Capital New York editor Alex Weprin noted that Warner Bros. filed to renew its trademarks for “Space Jam” just last month. That’s not necessarily a smoking gun, as the trademarks apparently concern merchandise, not films.
Still, it’s hard to think of a better marketing platform than a buzzed-about movie, or a better pitchman than James. Possibly including Michael Jordan.
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