After much anticipation, Space Jam: A New Legacy has been released. Unfortunately for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, the film hasn’t gotten very good reviews. As of right now, it sits at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, which qualifies as “rotten.”
While the original Space Jam starring Michael Jordan is certainly no masterpiece, it’s generally considered a superior film to the sequel. Joe Pytka, director of the first film, agrees with that notion. He ripped into Space Jam: A New Legacy, according to TMZ.
Pytka called the film an “uninteresting mess” while blasting its depiction of the iconic Bugs Bunny. He believes the filmmakers didn’t make enough of an effort to depict what makes the famous rabbit so iconic and said he “looked like one of those fluffy dolls you buy at an airport gift shop to bring your kid when your business trip has taken too long.”
He also referred to the film as “so boring” and claimed, “LeBron ain’t Michael.” Pytka didn’t like that they gave LeBron a fictional backstory while the original tried its best to tie it into Jordan’s personal life. Lastly, the director referred to the film as “so boring” and claimed it took him five sittings to get through it.
Pytka spent most of his career directing music videos and Space Jam is his one claim to fame in the film world. It’s unsurprising that he’d be protective over the film.
Is Space Jam: A New Legacy a Success?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what critics say about Space Jam: A New Legacy. It’s a movie meant for kids and kids don’t read reviews. All that matters is how much money it makes. During its opening weekend, the film made $31.6 million at the North American box office. That was good enough to dethrone Black Widow as the top movie in the country.
LeBron himself celebrated that feat but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Space Jam: A New Legacy was made for around $150 million. Typically an opening weekend for a film should recoup a good amount of the budget. Factoring in marketing cost, the film likely cost Warner Bros. over $200 million to make. With the film not getting the green light to premiere in China, it’s very possible that it ends up losing money.
Could We Get More Space Jam movies?
If Space Jam: A New Legacy does indeed lose money for the studio, the franchise will likely be dead in the water. However, director Malcolm D. Lee has expressed willingness to revisit the franchise.
“I never say never,” Lee told EW. “It’s all going to be about whether the fans respond to this positively. But I think the bar has been set so high in terms of the first one with this global iconic superstar in Michael Jordan, and now the same global iconic superstar in LeBron James, who transcends sports. Who is that next person to put into that universe? And then you’ve got to find a script and story that’s good enough to not repeat what’s been done but will capture the spirit of it and keep it going.”
In a world of cinematic universes, there’s no doubt that Warner Bros. would love to expand on Space Jam, but if it doesn’t make them money, it’s hard to imagine they’d be open to making more movies.