Space Jam: A New Legacy has a stated mission of trying to create a movie that is able to stand on its own, while also paying homage to the original — not as a sequel but a reboot with LeBron James in the Michael Jordan role. That is a tricky needle to thread, and it’ll be interesting to see what the response to the movie is when it releases on July 16 in theaters and on HBO Max.
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 banking on the 30-something crowd to come watch along with kids being introduced to the franchise for the first time, and the merchandise around the movie is likewise straddling the line of leaning into nostalgia while trying to make something new. On the new side, there’s the LeBron 19, which Nike unveiled recently and James will debut in the film. On the nostalgia side, McDonald’s partnered with Diamond Supply Co. for a line of retro-inspired merch for the new movie, in honor of the original Space Jam Happy Meals with a shirt and sweatshirt as well as a jersey and shorts combo.
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.