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Lebron James in Trainwreck

The coronavirus has prompted movie theaters nationwide to close, forcing Hollywood to take its current release-date calendar and essentially tear it to shreds. Opening weekends have been postponed, and even movies that are aiming for 2021 release dates ate on delay, meaning those likely will have to be pushed back before all is said and done.

But being a mostly animated film is working in the favor of Space Jam 2, according to the film’s star, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Lebron James. Serving as a guest on the Road Trippin’ Podcast, James gave the hosts an update on the sequel, stating:

Space Jam has always been scheduled to come out in June of 2021. So we're kind of [OK]. And a lot of it right now is animation, so being indoors is actually great for us. So we’re still on. Just like everything in the world, everything is slowed down a little bit, but we’re still on target. I’m looking forward to it. During this time right now, I wish we could release it right now, man, and give people some things to watch in their households. But we got until next year, next summer. We’re excited about it.

It’s interesting that this is the first time we are hearing that the shutdowns and delays caused by the coronavirus were having a less-than-expected effect on a movie, but from an animation standpoint, isolation is part of the process. Countless animators work individually to make the team-effort of building a feature come to life. And most of what Lebron James and his live-action co-stars probably are facing would be done in front of a green screen.

Watch the trailer for the original Space Jam and see how much of it is NBA legend Michael Jordan or co-star Bill Murray by themselves, alongside fully animated characters that no doubt were added back after the fact.

So, this largely is good news for Lebron James and fans of Space Jam who were anxious to see what the franchise could become. Production is rolling along, and the fact that they have to stay indoors is proving to be helpful.

Maybe the only thing that could throw a wrench into that schedule is the return of the NBA, which is rumored to possibly be back in action in mid-May. If the Lakers make a deep playoff run, after this lengthy pause, will that cause a delay in when James is able to film? The creatives, right now, have time to figure that out, but we’ll see if there are more ripples from the ongoing delays.

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