Malcolm D. Lee has joined Space Jam 2 as the film's new director, replacing Terence Nance amid his creative differences with Warner Bros. and LeBron James' SpringHill Entertainment, Deadline reports.
Lee's track record in comedy has earned him applause in recent years, with 2017's Girls Trip and 2018's Night School both making sizable imprints at the box office. The former premiered to a $31.2 million opening and grossed more than seven times its $19 million production budget, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The latter, which saw Haddish in the lead after her show-stealing turn in Girls Trip, brought in $85.5 million worldwide on a $29 million budget. Perhaps it isn't too late for Lee to recruit Haddish for the Space Jam sequel.
Black Panther filmmaker Ryan Coogler is set to produce the sequel, with LeBron James under his Springhill Entertainment label, as well as Duncan Henderson and Maverick Carter. Don Cheadle, who's recently starred in Black Monday and Avengers: Endgame, has also signed on.
Deadline notes that Nance's departure was amicable. During an interview with Vice, the Random Acts of Flyness creator said that he believes Space Jam 2 will "disrupt everything."
The 1996 crossover starred Michael Jordan alongside fellow NBA players and Looney Tunes characters taking on the wicked Monstars in a game of basketball. James will replace Jordan as the lead in the sequel, in which the animated characters will likely join forces with the NBA star for some high-stakes ball.
The film will premiere on July 16, 2021.