Space Jam 2: Skate Jam – What Happened to this Unmade Movie?

We look back at the unmade sequel to 1996’s Looney Tunes movie, Space Jam, which would have starred pro-skater Tony Hawk.

Last Updated on August 4, 2023

In the world of pop culture crossovers, few are as iconic as the 1996 film Space Jam. Starring  basketball legend Michael Jordan alongside the beloved Looney Tunes characters, it became a  cultural phenomenon that captured the hearts of fans worldwide. But what if there was another crossover in the works that would have taken the 2000s by storm? Enter Skate Jam, the unmade  film that almost brought together skateboarding icon Tony Hawk and the zany world of the  Looney Tunes. Why didn’t this film get made? Let’s find out together here on What Happened To This Unmade Movie?  

Space Jam would go on to be a theatrical juggernaut. Pitting the greatest basketball player of all  time, against a squad of monsters seems like a fun idea. Throw in the Looney Tunes, and you’re  for sure going to create a classic kids film. The film would go on to make almost three times its  budget back. Merchandise sales towered into the $1.2 billion range. The soundtrack sold six million copies and was certified 6 times platinum.  

Warner Brothers obviously wanted to capitalize on the success and get another film going. They  started exploring the idea of a sequel before the first one even came out. Artist Bob Camp was  tasked with designing the villain of the film named, Beserk-O. Michael Jordan and the Looney  Tunes would have to team up once again to stop him. Director Joe Pytka was planning on  returning, and animation director Spike Brandt was back on board. The one person that wasn’t  was Michael Jordan. He decided not to come back for a sequel, and the idea was scrapped.  

They thought of an idea to bring in Jackie Chan and do Spy Jam. He seemed initially interested  but would eventually drop out of the film. They retooled the idea for the film, and it became  Looney Tunes: Back In Action. As that film was being worked on, they still were trying to figure  out a sequel to Space Jam. Two ideas were Race Jam with Jeff Gordon and Golf Jam with Tiger Woods. Neither idea seemed to work, and they had to figure out how to move forward.  

In 2003, Warner Bros. reached out to Tony Hawk with an intriguing proposal. They wanted to  create a film tentatively titled Skate Jam, featuring the skateboarding legend alongside the  beloved Looney Tunes characters. Riding on the success of the original Space Jam, the studio  aimed to revitalize the Looney Tunes brand and tap into the growing popularity of skateboarding.  

Hawk, already an influential figure in the sports world, was thrilled by the opportunity. He met  with the producers, discussing the concept and envisioning the possibilities of this crossover. The  plan was for Skate Jam to follow the release of Looney Tunes: Back in Action, a live-action/ animated film starring Brendan Fraser. The stage seemed set for Hawk to leave his mark on the  silver screen, alongside Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes crew. 

While a synopsis for the canceled film has failed to make its way online, we can only imagine it  would have followed a similar path that the 1996 original followed. Tony Hawk would get pulled  into the world of the Looney Tunes. A villain of some sort would cause the toons and Hawk to  pull some skateboarding tricks out of their bag.  

The sport would have factored into the world of Bugs Bunny perfectly. Athletes in skateboarding  are known for pulling off some fantastic tricks on their skateboards. Now mix in animation, and  the only thing stopping it would be the writer’s imagination. We could see the characters really  perform some fun visuals. With Hawk on set in the live-action role, it would be great to see him  able to perform alongside the famous toons and be able to show more of his zany side.  

However, as fate would have it, Skate Jam met an unfortunate demise. After Hawk’s initial  excitement and discussions with the producers, he embarked on a trip to Australia, eagerly  awaiting further developments upon his return. Yet, to his dismay, Warner Bros. failed to follow  up on their promising plans.  

Skate Jam

Skate Jam vanished from the radar, and Hawk was left wondering what had gone wrong. In a  Hollywood-style twist, the calls were left unanswered, and the project that seemed destined to  become a reality faded away into obscurity. Hawk’s dreams of being part of a film that could  rival the legacy of Space Jam were shattered, and the unmade film became the “big thing that got  away” in his life.  

The real culprit was the failure of Looney Tunes: Back In Action. The film was supposed to  reintroduce the Looney Tunes characters to a movie-going audience. They hadn’t been on a  movie screen since Space Jam in 1996. Now in 2003, the plan was to release this film and have  kids ready to see them in Skate Jam not too long after. Back In Action, sadly, was a complete  failure. The film cost $80 Million to make but only brought in $68 Million worldwide during its  run.  

Director Joe Dante had a hard time making the movie as he said that Warner Brothers fought him  on just about every front while making the film. He felt that he had no creative freedom over the  movie at all. Dante said he was able to fight to keep the characters personalities but lost on just  about every other decision. With this failure, any project with the characters was canceled. The  characters were put on the shelf for the time being.  

The potential impact of Skate Jam cannot be understated. Hawk’s involvement in the film could  have solidified his place as a cultural icon, alongside the likes of Michael Jordan. The 2000s, a  decade still holding onto the 90s vibrant and rebellious youth culture, would have embraced the  convergence of skateboarding and Looney Tunes in a cinematic extravaganza. 

Imagine a movie that blended the gravity-defying tricks and adrenaline-fueled energy of  skateboarding with the timeless humor and animated charm of Bugs Bunny and his friends. Skate  Jam had the potential to capture the hearts of both skateboarding enthusiasts and fans of the  Looney Tunes, creating a new cultural touchstone for a generation.  

The timing of Skate Jam was significant. In the early 2000s, skateboarding was experiencing a  surge in popularity, with Tony Hawk leading the way. His video game series, Tony Hawk’s Pro  Skater, had become a massive success, introducing skateboarding to a broader audience. With the  success of the game franchise, Hawk had become a household name, making him an ideal choice  to bridge the gap between sports and entertainment.  

While Skate Jam may forever remain an unfulfilled dream, the concept of blending  skateboarding and the Looney Tunes characters in a crossover film is one that still tantalizes the  imagination. The missed opportunity leaves us wondering what could have been, and the legacy  of Space Jam continues to cast a nostalgic glow over the ’90s.  

Looney Tunes

We did finally get a sequel in the form of 2021’s Razzie-nominated Space Jam: A New Legacy. With Michael Jordan retired, it was time to bring in a new sports star in Lebron James…. Who is NO Michael Jordan but whatever! With updated technology, the Looney Tunes get an all-new 3D-generated  look. Lebron is forced to play a game of basketball against a rogue AI who has captured his son.  In order to get his son back he has to enlist the help of the Looney Tunes.  

The film is loaded to the brim with cameos as now Intellectual Property is the most important  thing. Warner Brothers dug through their catalog to find who they could put on the screen as  spectators. Sometimes their choices didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Rick and Morty make an  appearance which is kind of fun, I guess. The “CoNtRoVeRsiAL” Pepe Le Pew was dropped  from the film as his brand of romance is no longer seen as “PoLiTiCaLlY iNCoRrEct”..… which  really makes no sense when you notice The Droogs from A Clockwork Orange in the crowd  watching the game.  

The film made its budget back even though it came out in 2021 when theaters were still hurting (although the director of the first film hated it)  from the government enforced lock downs and premiered the same day on HBOMax. Does this  mean that there could still be a chance we could see Skate Jam end up being made? In its original  form, maybe… I mean Tony Hawk is still crushing it, right?  

It seems like we’ll probably never get Skate Jam as a film, but the idea is still a fun one. It would  be nice to see the characters interact. And if not a movie, then maybe a video game?

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.