Was LeBron James’ Space Jam 2 a Flop?

Published 08/14/2021, 11:35 AM EDT


NBA superstar LeBron James may have celebrated the success of his latest creation, Space Jam: A New Legacy quite prematurely. Was it too good to be true? Given early indications, James, who was celebrating a blockbuster opening where the movie overtook Black Widow, could never have predicted what happened next!

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Whatever the reason may have been, the film, like LA’s playoffs, turned on its head; a $31 million opening was followed by a 69% drop in revenues in the coming week. Whether it was owing to repeated surges in COVID cases, probably suggested by low viewer turnout at theatres, or just a complete disinterest in James’ latest production, it’s been a rough 1st month for the ‘server-verse’ crew.

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While the movie was never meant to be in the higher echelons of IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, such a reaction was least expected. While many attribute the film’s drubbing to the spreading Delta variant, given the bashing it got from MJ loyalists, fans have been highly skeptical, to say the least!

LeBron James facing a drubbing off the court

It looks like the collective decision to release the movie simultaneously in the theatres and on HBO Max proved costly. While Space Jam 2’s downward free fall is shocking to most NBA aficionados, it’s not surprising, given the reviews it received.

Setting apart a 79% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it was taken to the cleaners on IMDB, where it averaged just 4.4. Was it pure bias on display? Or were fans just not vibing to the sequel as they did to the original?

Perhaps it was Jordan’s impact in terms of a cultural revolution in the 90s that fans now hold this as a piece reminiscing his Airness’ greatness.

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Did the film overdo the Warner Bros. references and Easter eggs throughout the film? Yes. However, the underlying storyline comes at an important time in the current society. While the movie initially portrayed James as the villain for controlling his son Dom, director Malcolm Lee was quite adventurous with the cinematic liberties on display.

The nail in the coffin

While Space Jam: A New Legacy sees some absolute all-star firepower come to the fore in Don Cheadle and LeBron James, it fails to pack a punch like its predecessor. Whether it was due to an overdependence on CGI and Warner Bros intellectual property, it leaves more questions than answers.

While most critics and sports analysts completely trashed the movie, giving it a 27% approval rating and a score of 36 on Meta Critic, some of the hard-core Jordan fans have come out in appreciation of James’ latest on screen appearance.

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Could it just be a matter of individual viewer perception? Probably so! But, as LeBron mentioned during his appearance on Road Trippin last year, what sports analysts and “acclaimed” critics say, matters!

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Could these be just a bunch of Jordan loyalists, yet again trying hard to take a dig at LeBron James? All considered, why not leave it as what it is in the end, it’s a movie meant for kids!

WATCH THIS STORY: Best NBA Championship Celebrations That Includes Kobe Bryant’s Iconic Pictures, LeBron James’ Emotional Breakdown & More

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Nikhil Naik

170 articles

Nikhil Naik is an NBA writer at EssentialySports. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Hospitality, he has worked with the Indian Hotels Company Limited, at the Taj in Mumbai. Nikhil has been playing basketball since 2014.

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