Prepare to be overwhelmed by Space Jam merch.
Warner Bros. has enlisted more than 200 partners—from Nike to Kraft Heinz—to create licensed merchandise for its upcoming movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy, set to debut on July 16 in theaters and on HBO Max, where it will run for a month. A follow-up to the original Space Jam from 1996, the new movie will again pair Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny with the top star in basketball, which is this time LeBron James, rather than Michael Jordan as in the first movie. Accompanying the theatrical release will be what Warner Bros. is describing as one of its largest-ever merchandise programs for Looney Tunes.
If the original Space Jam is any indication, it’s a valuable opportunity. The first movie brought in $90.4 million in US ticket sales and $230 million in international ticket sales, but did a reported $1.2 billion in merchandise sales. (Warner Bros. would not confirm the figure.)
Merchandise is a key way studios cash in outside the box office, and the possibility of consumer products tied to a movie or TV show can play a major role in whether it gets developed, according to Maura Regan, president of Licensing International, an organization serving the brand-licensing industry. Disney alone brings in billions of dollars in sales of toys, books, clothes, and other products related to its animated releases and Star Wars movies. Space Jam, from its conception as a brand partnership between two stars—Bugs and Jordan—dreamed up for the purpose of advertising, has similar potential.
The idea for the original Space Jam came out of a Nike campaign from the early 1990s created by the sneaker giant’s advertising firm, Wieden+Kennedy. It thought of pairing Bugs Bunny with Jordan—a.k.a. Air Jordan—and “Hare Jordan” was born. Eventually the concept evolved into a full movie, with obvious merchandising potential: Warner Bros. at the time arranged more than 200 licensing deals tied to Space Jam‘s release.
For the new release, Warner Bros. has a dizzying array of partners and products lined up. Nike alone will sell Space Jam jerseys, tanks, hoodies, jackets, socks, backpacks, and of course sneakers. (The same shoes James wears on screen will be available for sale.)
Converse and Crocs will sell Space Jam footwear, too, while a non-exhaustive list of companies Warner Bros. has teamed up with to sell different articles of Space Jam clothing regionally or globally include:
- Cotton On
- Alexandre Herchcovitch
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Forever 21
- Members Only
- Pac Sun
- A Bathing Ape
- Diamond Supply
Clothing is just one facet of the opportunity. Among the items mentioned in the press release about its merchandising around Space Jam: A New Legacy are:
- Phone accessories
- Drink bottles
- Lunch bags
- Small leather goods
- Food products
Producing all these items are a large number of brand partners. Here are a few noted by Warner Bros.:
- General Mills
- Kraft Heinz
- Moose Toys
- New Era
- Alex and Ani
- Upper Deck
There will also be many region-specific items for Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, and Europe.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the release date of Space Jam: A New Legacy on HBO Max as being a month after the theater release.