BE VEWWWY, VEWWWY QUIET, WE'RE HUNTING SUPERSTARS
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).