There seemed to be a little bit of magic everywhere when it came to the 1996 sleeper hit “Space Jam.”
It had Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. It had a younger and still quite marketable Michael Jordan. And it included a bunch of NBA legends who just happened to be available.
But a planned sequel more than 20 years after the fact will most likely fail to re-capture that magic. At least that’s what “Space Jam” director Joe Pytka is warning “Space Jam 2” director Justin Lin.
“When we did ‘Space Jam,’ there was a perfect storm of players and ex-players available,” Pytka told The Hollywood Reporter‘s Bill Higgins, with some of the greatest like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing. “They all had a persona that complemented the film. There are none like that now.”
Lin, whose “Star Trek: Beyond” is coming out later this summer, announced last week he is planning a sequel that will involve Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. And while James might be popular, Pytka reminds Lin that he’s no Michael Jordan.
“Michael Jordan was the biggest star on the planet,” Pytka said, adding a warning to Lin: “Don’t do it. It’s doomed.”
The original feature put together live action and animation, intended to help Warner Bros. better compete in the movie-house animation world with the likes of the Walt Disney Co. While “Space Jam” would earn $250.2 million worldwide, the studio struggled to follow up with another animation hit to keep that streak going. Adjusted for inflation, the Jordan-starred “Space Jam” earned $385.5 million.
Lin already has had some success jumping into existing franchises like he did with the Fast & Furious films. Although it’s too early to tell if his foray into Star Trek is successful, some analysts have predicted “Beyond” should perform at the same level as “Star Trek: Into Darkness” did in 2013, earning a little more than $300 million.
There is no release date or production schedule yet for “Space Jam 2.” However, “Beyond” hits theaters July 22.