Space Jam on TMC: Did you know the film was adapted from an advertisement?


“Space Jam” has become over time a cult film. While a second opus comes out more than twenty years later, it is an opportunity to come back to the original film. But did you know that “Space Jam” is adapted from an advertisement?

Space jam : a complicated film

In 1997, Space jam goes out in dark rooms. Directed by Joe Pytka, the feature film tells how basketball player Michael Jordan is responsible for training and help the Looney Tunes win a basketball game against a horde of belligerent aliens. Also worn by Bill Murray, the film proved to be a moderate success for Warner with over $ 230 million in revenue. But the firm has made up for it with derivative products since sales revenues on figurines, clothing, and other products of all kinds amount to more than $ 1.2 billion.

Space jam
Space Jam © Warner Bros Pictures

The start of Space jam is inspired by Michael Jordan’s career. Indeed, the filming of the film was launched while the athlete was making his comeback in the NBA, after more than a year and a half outside the courts. During this period, the basketball player became a baseball player. An anecdote which Joe Pytka seized upon. Then the film was made, during a sometimes complicated production since Michael Jordan had to resume his basketball career at the same time. Director Spike Lee would also have given a hand to Joe Pytka behind the back of the Warner.

Finally, Space jam is reputed to have democratized the use of green funds in Hollywood. But among all these anecdotes, there is one that caught our attention more.

It all started with an advertisement

Initially, the project Space jam was just an advertisement. In fact, in 1992, Warner and Nike join forces to advertise the Air Jordan. This short clip featured Bugs Bunny and the Bulls point guard. The advertisement in question becomes a real success, and the marketing campaign is a triumph. The Swhoosh brand then repeated the experience the following year, for an advertisement on the occasion of the SuperBowl.

This time, the famous rabbit is sent into space with Michael Jordan to take on a team of aliens. Voted best publicity of the event, the short film then makes you want David Falk, the basketball player’s agent, to make a film of it. The agent then offers Michael Jordan and Warner to develop the idea in the form of a feature film. Thus, Nike and Warner embark on the production of Space jam.

Unfortunately, no one internally really believes in the project. Joe Pytka, who then directed the two commercials, does not believe this idea at all, and even predicted to Space jam an intergalactic flop. Paradoxically, it was he who ended up inheriting the staging of the film, after the insistence of Warner. Finally, the filmmaker reshaped the history of the studio, and directed an animated film which has become a cult over time. More than 20 years later, Space Jam: New Era finally released in the cinema, with, this time, the basketball player LeBron James.



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