Space Jam is a 1996 American live-action/animated sports comedy film directed by Joe Pytka and starring basketball player Michael Jordan. The film presents a fictionalized account of what happened between Jordan’s initial retirement from the NBA in 1993 and his 1995 comeback, in which he is enlisted by the Looney Tunes to help them win a basketball match against a group of aliens who intend to enslave them as attractions for their theme park. Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle, and Bill Murray appear in supporting roles, while Billy West, Dee Bradley Baker, and Danny DeVitoheadline the voice cast.
Space Jam was released theatrically in the United States on November 15, 1996, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film was a box office success, opening at number one at the North American box office and grossing over $230 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing basketball film of all time. However, it received mixed reviews from critics, who were divided on the merits of combining Jordan and his profession with the Looney Tunes characters. It was particularly criticized by veteran animator and Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones.