|Space Jam is a 1996 American live-action/animated family sports comedy film starring Michael Jordan and Wayne Knight, as well as the cast of the Looney Tunes. The movie also marks the debut of Lola Bunny. It was produced by Ivan Reitman, and directed by Joe Pytka (live-action), Tony Cervone, and Bruce W. Smith (animation).
The film was released theatrically by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment on November 15, 1996. There was also a licensed pinball game by Sega based on the film and a video game by Acclaim Entertainment. It plays out as an alternate story of Michael’s initial return to basketball, this time with him being inspired by Bugs Bunny and others. Although the film received mixed reviews overall, it was a box office success, opening at #1 in the US, and grossing over $230 million worldwide. It was also the fastest-selling home entertainment subject as sales reached $100 million.
As NBA superstar Michael Jordan retires from basketball to pursue a career in baseball, Mister Swackhammer, the proprietor of the extraterrestrial theme park “Moron Mountain”, is seeking new attractions for his failing park. He sends his minions, the “Nerdlucks”, to capture the Looney Tunes, who reside deep below the surface of the Earth.
The Looney Tunes retaliate by challenging the Nerdlucks to a basketball game, since they are not very tall. To prepare for the game, the Nerdlucks return to Earth and steal the talent of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley by forcing their way into the players’ bodies and stealing their talent. The Nerdlucks use the stolen talent to become the “Monstars” (or “Mean Team”), gigantic creatures that the Looney Tunes are unable to defeat by themselves. To aid them, the characters recruit a reluctant Jordan and his wormy and rotund publicist Stan Podolak.
Soon after, the game between the TuneSquad and the Monstars begins, but the Looney Tunes are roughed up by the brutal playing style of the Monstars until only Jordan, Bugs, Lola and Daffy are left standing leaving them short one player. Bill Murray, being friends with the producer of the film, is able to enter the Looney Tunes’ world and join their team, averting forfeiture.
By the climax of the game, the TuneSquad are down by one, and it is up to Michael to score the final point for his team. Using his extendable arm, supplemented by the power of toon physics, Michael manages to make the basket and win the game. Afterwards, the characters return Michael back to Earth, where he returns the stolen talent back to their respective owners. He is later prompted by his rivals to return to the NBA, mirroring his real-life comeback.