LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam’ sequel set to make a commercial splash

A day before the A-listers would stride down the purple-and-black carpets adorning L.A. Live, a small horde of families were baking under the California sunshine, posing with Bugs and Lola Bunny, clanking balls off pop-a-shot hoops, and riding the crest of a commercial wave that is about to land Friday.

A hired streetball crew was running the main stage – in this case, a highlighter orange-colored court – complete with regulation rims, DJs and prize packs including action figures, XBox controllers and other foreign-manufactured treasures. At one point, the emcee leaned down to one of the attendees, a young boy wearing a No. 23 Lakers jersey.

“What movie is coming out on July 16th?” he shouted, rhetorically.

“SPACE JAM!” the boy shouted into the microphone.

A follow-up: “And who is gonna win?”

The boy paused thoughtfully, before offering an uncertain answer: “LeBron?”

LeBron James is about to be the No. 1 winner of the release of his first starring feature film, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which is being released in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday. More a spiritual continuation of the 1996 movie starring Michael Jordan, James’ childhood idol-turned-legacy rival, the film’s commercial footprint will be much larger than whatever box office return it draws as the film industry makes a circumspect return after the most serious days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As many big names are featured on the cast list – James, Anthony Davis, Don Cheadle,…

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