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Published June 21, 1995
At a press conference yesterday, Michael Jordan announced plans to star in his first feature film, teaming up with Bugs Bunny for Warner Brothers' animated "Space Jam." Jordan will play himself, and help Bugs and the "rest of the Looney Tune gang foil a kidnap plot by a band of outer space creatures." The film will be released around Christmas '96. In Chicago, Terry Armour writes Jordan as a movie star doesn't sound "far-fetched ... since he is treated like one anyway" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/21). The film will be directed by Joe Pytak, who worked with Jordan and Bugs Bunny for Nike spots in '93 (USA TODAY, 6/21). Jordan would not say how much he would be paid, noting only that "Bugs is making more than I am." But his agent, David Falk, said Jordan will be paid a percentage of the film's profits, ("which are expected to be huge") and get a share of the "billions of dollars of spinoff merchandise products" (Gersh Kuntzman, N.Y. POST, 6/21). Falk will serve as co-executive producer (AD AGE ONLINE, 6/21). Harry Berkowitz calls it "a match made in marketing heaven" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 6/21). SIT-DOWNS WITH KING, SISKEL. Jordan appeared on last night's "Larry King Live" on CNN, and was interviewed this morning by Gene Siskel on "CBS This Morning." With King, Jordan discussed "Space Jam," his baseball experience and the NBA labor woes. Jordan on the film: "I'm going to try to be myself, that's all I'm asked to do in the movie, so if I can be myself, I think I've got it licked." Jordan said other NBA players may also appear in the film. On his endorsements: "Nike, and Quaker Oats and Gatorade, I think those corporations and myself have had great partnerships -- as long as we keep it as partnerships -- I like it that way. I don't like to think of it as working for you and you working for me. It's a partnership." Jordan, says he turn down more offers than he takes: "Quite frankly, they ask for a lot more time than I can give" (CNN, 6/20). FINE LINE? In New York, Filip Bondy writes that the more Jordan gets involved in the current NBA labor strife, the more he becomes a potential target "in the era of the feel-bad fan." If Jordan is "perceived as being a leader in any militant player movement, he is bound to receive some negative publicity that will reduce his value to corporate sponsors and Warner Bros." (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/21).