'Space Jam 2' Will Have 200 Licensed Merch Partners as Warner Bros. Looks to Top Original's Reported $1.2B Merchandise Haul
Everybody get up, it’s time to create an enormous promotional marketing campaign around a highly anticipated cartoon/live-action sports nostalgia movie!
OK, that’s not as catchy as the original “Space Jam” song. But the LeBron James-led sequel is already looking to outdo its MJ/Bugs Bunny predecessor in the marketing and merchandise department.
Warner Bros. has reportedly inked deals with more than 200 companies to create licensed merchandise for “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” The first “Space Jam” made $1.2 billion in merchandise sales. For reference, it made $90.4 million in U.S. ticket sales and $230 million worldwide.
The way the movie includes multiple NBA franchises is good for drawing eyeballs from all kinds of fanbases, but it seems like Warner Bros. is doing what it did the first time around: focusing on merchandise rather than ticket sales—especially since theater attendance is down.
You also might not know that the original “Space Jam” started as a Nike advertising campaign idea. Quartz reported that Nike’s advertising firm, Wieden+Kennedy, had an idea about including Bugs Bunny in a Jordan shoe ad, and calling it the “Hare Jordan.” That idea grew to be a feature-length movie, and Warner Bros. partnered with more than 200 companies.
In 2021, LeBron James is arguably one of the most marketable people on the planet. Anything he touches becomes top-billed news. In addition to LeBron, this year’s movie will reportedly partner with big names such as:
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Forever 21
- Members Only
- Pac Sun
- A Bathing Ape
You can check out the full list on Quartz.
Aside from apparel, the list of partnerships includes licensed toys, packaging, books, drinkware, smartphone accessories, tote bags, backpacks, watches, food products and, of course, basketballs.
The companies working on those products include New Era, GameStop, Upper Deck, Mattel, Fossil, Kraft Heinz and Spalding.
By having a movie franchise that perfectly blends pop culture, video game culture, cartoons and sports, you set yourself up for plentiful branding opportunities.
If the original “Space Jam” made such a killing from merchandise, Warner Bros. no doubt wants to do that again. If it works, it’ll add just one more argument to the eternal “LeBron or Jordan” debate.