The goal of Space Jam: A New Legacy is to make a film that can stand on its own while simultaneously paying respect to the original — not as a sequel, but as a reboot starring LeBron James in the role of Michael Jordan. That’s a difficult needle to thread, and it’ll be interesting to watch how the film is received when it opens in cinemas and on HBO Max on July 16.
The premise is generally the same, with LeBron leading the Tune Squad against an evil alien/cyber squad of players with the skills of some of the NBA and WNBA’s best (this time called the Goon Squad rather than the Monstars). How they get to that game is different, though, and seems to have a bit more of a plot beyond “Michael Jordan gets sucked down a golf hole to help save the Looney Tunes.” Still, part of the reason to make a second Space Jam is to play into the nostalgia aspect, as it’s the 25th anniversary of the original that was for many of a certain age a childhood favorite.
They’re hoping to attract a 30-something demographic as well as kids who are discovering the property for the first time, and the movie’s merchandise is straddling the line between nostalgia and trying to create something new. On the new side, there’s the LeBron 19, which was recently released by Nike and will be worn by James in the film. On the nostalgia front, McDonald’s teamed up with Diamond Supply Co. to create a collection of retro-inspired merch for the new film, including a shirt and sweatshirt, as well as a jersey and shorts combo, in celebration of the original Space Jam Happy Meals.
They are very clearly 90’s inspired from the style but updated with the look from the new movie. The collection will release on July 3 at 9 a.m. PT on Diamond Supply Co.’s website and store in L.A.