It’s been nearly 19 years since Space Jam burst onto our cinema screens and became the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time. But this accolade is somewhat threatened by the prospect of a sequel: Space Jam 2.
Earlier this year, Deadline reported that Warner Bros. were working on a new screenplay with NBA star Lebron James, and since then the rumor mill has gone into overdrive with plot ideas and theories. Although James is yet to confirm any involvement with the cult classic, his production company SpringHill Entertainment are said to have recently signed a deal with Warner Bros. and the latter have also filed for new Space Jam trademarks; making the long awaited sequel more likely than ever.
But do we really need a Space Jam 2? Despite the fact the film grossed $230 million worldwide, the film critics were less than kind, with rotten tomatoes scoring it a lowly 35% and IMDb scoring it 6.2 out of 10. Whilst it’s not uncommon for popular films to do bad critically, surely it’s best not to tempt fate with a sequel? A bad follow up could really be the nail in the coffin.
We’ve seen it happen time and time again: classic films ruined by terrible sequels. Just look at Rocky. Hailed as one of the best sports films of all time yet now overshadowed by the lesser five sequels that follow it. Whilst Rocky IV is regarded by many as the low point of the franchise, none of the sequels ever matched the original, let alone surpassed it. The same can be said for the Matrix, Nightmare on Elm Street and The Exorcist and I’m sorry to say that Space Jam may soon be joining the club.
In theory, a sequel to a box office hit seems like a great idea, especially when there’s a new generation to target. For many, Lebron James is ‘the next Michael Jordan’, so it would only be natural to cast him in the follow up to the cult classic. In 1996, Michael Jordan was already a household name, thanks to his five MVP titles, 14 All-Star awards and renowned leaping ability. The latter, gave him the name ‘Air Jordan’ and many have acknowledged that Space Jam served as an advertising platform for his Air Jordan trainers with Nike. For Lebron, his involvement in the sequel could also help him achieve his dreams of building up an entertainment empire, and put him on the map as the Michael Jordan of his generation.
If a Space Jam 2 does hit our screens, it needs to be bigger and better than the first, or risk ruining a much loved family favorite forever. With new technology, and a new NBA star at the helm, just maybe Warner Bros. might pull it out the bag…all we can do is wait and see.