1996's original Space Jam movie starring Michael Jordan was a certified box office hit. The movie made $250 million against an $80 million budget.
The success of the film even led to talks of multiple sequels in subsequent years, although none of them came to fruition. It would take more than two decades for a sequel to eventually release, with Lebron James' Space Jam: A New Legacy premiering on July 12, 2021.
So far, the 2021 animated film has been a financial success. As of July 18, 2021, the movie has earned roughly $31.7 million at the domestic box office. It is well on its way to earning just as much as the original film if not more.
However, not everyone is a fan of the James-led sequel.
Space Jam sequel isn't a slam dunk for Joe Ptyka
Joe Ptyka directed the original Space Jam and as reported by TMZ the 82-year-old appears to have several issues with the sequel. He was quoted to have said, "The truth is that Lebron ain't Michael."
Among the problems that Ptyka seemed to have with the 2021 sequel is that the plot didn't really reference Lebron's personal life. He says that it lacked intimacy and personal connection in how it portrayed its lead star. Lest we forget, the original explored Jordan's failed and largely forgettable stint in baseball.
Ptyka also described Bugs Bunny's role in the sequel as "heartbreaking". He described him as looking 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."
Of course, everyone has an opinion. At the end of the day, you can't deny that Space Jam and A New Legacy are fairly similar. The two might have had different approaches, but the plot remains the same. Both films still revolve around NBA superstars in alternate dimensions playing basketball so that they could return to the real world.
For what it's worth, Ptyka appears to be spot on with some of his criticisms. Most movie critics agree that the sequel had a weak plot, over-relying on the studio's numerous movies and TV shows. Meanwhile, fans didn't like how the sequel desexualized Lola Bunny for apparently no reason, trading in her tiny shorts and crop top for a more "typical" basketball outfit.
At the moment, A New Legacy holds a 30% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 170 reviews. In comparison, the original Space Jam has a 44% approval rating based on 79 reviews.
In other Space Jam news, you can actually play as Lebron in a video game right now, outside of basketball. As part of the movie's marketing campaign, Warner Bros. worked with Epic Games to release a Lebron James skin in Fortnite.