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Any '90s kids are familiar with the fact that the Looney Tunes love basketball, but they almost tried their hands at skateboarding. Pro skating legend Tony Hawk has revealed that he was once approached to star in a Space Jam sequel/spin-off called Skate Jam that would have had him shredding (that's skateboarding, right?) the halfpipe alongside Bugs Bunny.
In 2003, I was requested to meet with Warner Brothers about doing a film with the Looney Tunes characters that was tentatively titled Skate Jam. Their plan was to bring back Bugs, Taz, etc into the cinema with a current release called Back In Action and then immediately start working on my project.
In 1996, Warner Bros. released Space Jam, which featured Michael Jordan teaming up with the Looney Tunes to play a basketball game against aliens so that they wouldn't be enslaved at an intergalactic theme park. It's '90s perfection, and apparently, a sequel about skateboarding was on the table.
As Tony Hawk recounts on Instagram, he was approached by Warner Bros. in 2003 about doing a skateboarding version of Space Jam tentatively called Skate Jam. A new live-action movie, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, was about to release in theaters, and Warner was hoping to capitalize on the hype of pairing Daffy Duck with Brendan Fraser.
I was about to leave for a skate trip in Australia so they met me at that iconic dome-shaped restaurant in the middle of LAX before my flight that evening. They were SERIOUS. We talked about storylines and shooting schedules, and they casually mentioned that I would get $1 million up front for signing on. I flew to Sydney that night with a sense of wonder and excitement; I had never met with Hollywood heads and felt so sure about something happening.
After the meeting, Hawk felt super confident that the movie was going to happen. Plus, he would have gotten $1 million up front, so yeah, he really was hoping this thing was going to happen. Well, it's 2019 and there's no movie where Porky Pig does a kickflip, so what happened?
During my week-long trip, Back In Action was released in theaters and bombed. By the time I got home, Skate Jam had been "indefinitely postponed" and I never heard about it again. I still think it would have been a hit considering skateboarding's popularity at the time, and the reverence kids (now young adults) had for Space Jam.
In the time span of one week, Warner Bros. confidence plummeted. Back in Action bombed ($9.3 million opening weekend) and Tony Hawk never heard anything about Skate Jam ever again.
With his Instagram post, telling this story, Tony Hawk shared the follow drawing, which he said was given to him at a skate demo that Looney Tunes sponsored years before the movie talks began. As he noted, Marvin is fittingly on a hoverboard:
Over 10 years later, Tony Hawk is still bummed that the movie never happened, figuring it would have been a success. Skateboarding was really popular at the time and those who loved Space Jam would likely be excited about a sequel. As far as the latter goes, we know that's still mostly the case. Warner Bros. has been trying to get Space Jam 2 off the ground with Lebron James for a few years now.
I would very much like to see how Skate Jam would have turned out, but sadly, it's just one of the great movies that was never meant to be. Damn you, Looney Tunes: Back in Action.