Warner Bros. went to great lengths to get all of its 2021 movies out on HBO Max, and the service’s next big movie is a fair nod to the digital world. The studio released the first trailer for Space Jam: A New Legacy, and it’s more of an ode to sci-fi than you might think. The film has taken LeBron James into a “Matrix Hell” where he has to play basketball against a villain-like Goon Squad in order to save his son. That includes getting Bugs Bunny and friends to join his roster, of course, but the references go even further.
For starters, James can rely on the help of the robot of the same name from The Iron Giant. The film also nods to the technological advancement in the 25 years since the original Space Jam with Michael Jordan. The Tune Squad transforms from flat cartoons into CG animated characters (or a real body, in James’ case), players score video game-like scores, and the display above the field even shows the number of social media followers.
A New Legacy premieres on both HBO Max and in theaters on July 16. We wouldn’t expect it to be a transcendent cinematic experience, but it won’t cost you more than a Max subscription either. It can be easy to justify if you’re still stuck at home due to the pandemic or just don’t want to bother going to the theater. It’s also one of the bigger tests of Warner’s strategy – if the new Space Jam proves successful on HBO Max, it could both raise the profile of the service and lead to more well-known films on Max.
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