Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s sports drama, Air, will hit the hardwood in cinemas worldwide on April 5, 2023. The project is also coming to Amazon Prime Video at a later date. The duo’s film focuses on the early days of Nike‘s marketing strategies and tactics, eventually making the brand a household name and the envy of sneakerheads everywhere.
Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports, and Mandalay Pictures, not Mandalay Industries, are backing the project from Affleck and Damon’s Artists Equity label. It’s rare for Amazon to be in favor of giving such a high-profile project a theatrical release. Still, bringing films to theaters is beneficial in drumming up early buzz for streaming releases. Hardcore fans will show up to theaters to see the movie early, but positive word of mouth also increases streaming customer numbers. Amazon oversees Air’s theatrical release in the United States, while Warner Bros. International will manage overseas markets.
“Ben, Matt and this all-star cast have delivered a fantastic film that will move, inspire and entertain audiences around the globe,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon and MGM Studios, said in a statement. “With Ben’s incredible direction, the film delivers a nostalgic look back at a culture-defining moment that absolutely lends itself to a global theatrical event.”
Added Affleck: “Matt and I are very excited for audiences to see Air and proud that it’s the first release from Artists Equity. The movie was an extraordinary experience where we had the honor of working with some of the best cast and crew in the business, all of whom brought passion, persistence and creativity to a collective effort at recreating a remarkable and aspirational story.”
According to Deadline, Air will tell the incredible story of how maverick sneaker salesman Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) led a fledgling running shoe company called Nike in its pursuit of the most transformative athlete in the history of sports: Michael Jordan. Affleck will portray Nike co-founder Phil Knight in the story surrounding Nike’s longshot effort to sign Jordan to its shoe company in the mid-’80s, an endorsement that seemed impossible at the time but which would become the most significant relationship between an athletic brand and an athlete and launched the global, multibillion-dollar contemporary sneaker industry. Sonny’s relentless quest to sign Jordan to what was then the third-place shoe company takes him to Jordan’s parents, his potent, dynamic mother, former coaches, advisors, friends, and those close to Michael. Jordan is a giant mythic figure hovering above the movie and never seen, while Sonny tries to reach him by gaining access to those close to him and around him.
In addition to Affleck and Damon, the duo’s Air movie stars Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Matthew Maher, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, Gustaf Skarsgård, and Julius Tennon. Affleck will direct from a script written by Alex Convery.
What do you think about Affleck and Damon teaming up for Air? How many Air Jordans have you owned in your lifetime? Do you have a favorite pair? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.