Warner Bros. created a multitude of conversations recently by announcing that all of its upcoming 2021 films will land on the HBO Max streaming service the same day as the respective theatrical releases. The movies include Dune, Will Smith's King Richard, and the sequel to Space Jam. LeBron James' partnership with Bugs Bunny and the other animated stars will hit both HBO Max and theaters on July 16, 2021.
While the first Space Jam focused on Michael Jordan and big names from the mid-1990s, the sequel will include several modern-day pros. James' teammate Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson and Russell Westbrook will all help represent the NBA. WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike will also have roles in the film. Although not many details are available about the upcoming film.
Of course, a big part of the Space Jam universe is the addition of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and many other characters. Fans are still eagerly awaiting a trailer or photos showing the cast — both animated and real — but some viewers recently saw the film's version of Bugs. A brief video from WarnerMedia's virtual CCXP panel showed the iconic character giving a tour of the Warner Bros. lot while he hyped up Space Jam 2. A Twitter user captured a screenshot that showed Bugs from the neck up.
The photo on social media sparked several comments from users, with some saying that Bugs didn't "have as much life" as the version from the original Space Jam. Others disagreed and said that they really like the look. Some simply want to wait until they see the animated rabbit from head to toe to make their opinions known.
According to Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, people are living in "unprecedented times" and that no one wants films back in the movie theaters more than they do. However, she said that the decision to release Space Jam: A New Legacy and other films on HBO Max the same day reflects the assumption that theaters will operate at a reduced capacity in 2021. She also said that this arrangement is a "unique" one-year plan.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich also released a statement about the surprising approach, saying, "This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021. We have a fantastic, wide ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able get these movies in front of audiences around the world. And, as always, we’ll support all of our releases with innovative and robust marketing campaigns for their theatrical debuts, while highlighting this unique opportunity to see our films domestically via HBO Max as well."