Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzales are seen in the restaurant discussing how political correctness has affected their careers. Both characters have come under fire for insensitivity in recent years. Porky for his stutter, and the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts that featured Speedy Gonzales were pulled from the Cartoon Network's daytime and prime time line-ups. It was alleged that Speedy was "racially offensive" to Mexican people, a point which became moot when some representatives of the Latino community organized a movement to get Speedy back on the air.
Steve Martin read the script and would only do the film on one condition, in the scene where aliens chase Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, a Dalek (from Doctor Who (1963)) is one of the aliens used. Warner Bros. accepted.
In the spoof of the Psycho (1960) shower scene Bugs pours a can of Hershey's chocolate syrup down the shower drain, a reference to the fact that Alfred Hitchcock used Bosco's chocolate syrup in the original scene to better simulate blood in black and white.
The last film Jerry Goldsmith would score. Due to Goldsmith's failing health, the last reel of the film was actually scored by John Debney, though Goldsmith was the only credited composer in marketing materials. Debney got a small credit at the end as "Additional music by".
Joe Dante refuses to talk about this movie in interview in great detail. All he's said is that he only agreed to direct the film to pay tribute to Chuck Jones, who had recently passed away and was a close friend of Dante's and that Warner Brothers gave him no freedom in the creative process.
John Cleese made a brief cameo in the film at one point during the Paris sequence, but his cameo was cut out because it didn't have anything to do with the film. Also, the reason Scooby-Doo and Shaggy make cameos in the film, even though they are not Looney Tunes, was because director Joe Dante wanted some non-WB characters in the film like Tom & Jerry, and Droopy, but WB thought that would be too weird, so they told him a Scooby-Doo cameo would seem more "appropriate". If one looks closely, the animation of Scooby and Shaggy is stiffer and more limited than that of the Looney Tunes characters, referring to the drastically cheaper budgets of the Hanna-Barbera studio at the time the original Scooby series was created.
Technically the final traditionally-animated Warner Bros. film, albeit one blended with live action. Though Warner Bros. Feature Animation closed its doors in 2001, the department was briefly dug out of retirement for this film.
At the end of the movie, Bugs gets into a limousine and is handed carrots by numerous minor characters from past "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies". Among them are Charlie Dog, Heathcliff (from the Arthur Davis short Dough Ray Me-ow (1948)), the Squirrel (from the Chuck Jones short Much Ado About Nutting (1953)), Gruesome Gorilla (from the Robert McKimson short Gorilla My Dreams (1948)), Hippety Hopper, Marc Antony, Pussyfoot, and Egghead (the forerunning character to Elmer Fudd).
Lola Bunny, introduced in Space Jam (1996), does not make an appearance, but can be seen on several movie posters in the background of some scenes. The existence of Lola's character, created as a "politically correct" counterpart for Bugs is spoofed when Kate suggests that what Bugs needs to "leverage his synergy" is a "hot female counterpart." (see quotes section)
The character animation of the Warner Bros. cartoon characters in this film is traditionally hand-drawn. Computer technology is used to color the animation drawings in, add tone mattes/shadows to the characters, and composite them over the correct backgrounds. 3D Computer animation is used on objects such as the spaceships, Wile E. Coyote's missile, the robot guard dog at the end, and Bugs' cel-shaded carrots.
Elmer Fudd chases Bugs and Daffy through three of the world's most famous paintings: "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat (displayed at The Art Institute of Chicago), "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dalí (Museum of Modern Art, New York) and "The Scream" by Edvard Munch (Oslo's Munch Museum. On August 31, 2006, Norwegian police announced that the painting stolen in August 2004 had been recovered.).
When we first See Dusty Tails (Heather Locklear), she is wearing a Southern Belle-type dress and hat, and being lowered from the rafters on an ornate, vine-covered swing. This is a nod to a scene from Walt Disney World's "Country Bear Jamboree" attraction, where the animatronic character "Swingin' Teddie Berrah" is lowered from the ceiling wearing a similar dress and hat, on the same type of swing. Even Foghorn Leghorn's introduction for Dusty mimics the MC's intro for the Walt Disney World character.
In the casino, while D.J. is fighting with Yosemite Sam's goons, Daffy tells him to "bite his ear!" This is a reference to boxer Mike Tyson, who bit off a portion of Evander Holyfield's ear during a match.
When Daffy says, "I'm afraid the brothers Warner must choose between a handsome matinee idol, or this miscreant perpetrator of low burlesque," he then points at Bugs, who is wearing Groucho glasses. Groucho Marx had a famous exchange of letters with Warner Brothers over The Marx Brothers' film A Night in Casablanca (1946). One of the letters included the line, "Professionally, we were brothers before you!"
When Elmer Fudd is chasing Bugs and Daffy through the museum, the music playing is from the piano suite "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Modest Mussorgsky, a cycle of piano pieces describing a walk through an art gallery (by a man with a limp) and the different paintings he stops to look at.
Despite being directed by acknowledged fans of the original cartoons, production was reportedly a disaster. Warner Bros., presumably infuriated by the script, gave Joe Dante little to no creative freedom with the project. "It was a pretty grim experience all around," Dante recalled. "The longest year and a half of my life." Dante and Eric Goldberg managed to preserve the original personalities of the characters, but were fighting against the studio towards other aspects of the film. The opening, middle, and end of the film are different from what Dante envisioned.
The film's release was also the subject of a big stroke of bad luck: it was supposed to premiere in July, but was shelved after Finding Nemo (2003) became a smash. Come November (the start of the holiday movie season), and the film was released. Unfortunately, the movie opened just after Brother Bear (2003) and Elf (2003), just before The Cat in the Hat (2003) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), and just the week the Occupation of Iraq began. Warner Bros. refused to promote the film because of it chaotic production and overrun budget.
Since the film came out, Joe Dante has really only discussed this movie publicly just once. The one time he did all he could talk about was the interference behind it, and "the less said about [the movie], the better." He did say though that "At least it's better than Space Jam (1996)".
A follow-up to Space Jam (1996) was planned as early as the film's release. As development began, Space Jam 2 was going to involve a new basketball competition between the Looney Tunes and a new villain named Berserk-O!. Joe Pytka would have returned to direct and Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone signed on as the animation supervisors. However, Michael Jordan didn't agree to star in a sequel and producers were actually lying to design artists claiming that he did sign on to keep development going. Warner Bros. eventually cancelled plans for Space Jam 2.
In the extended version of the Area 52 escape scene, Ro-Man from Robot Monster (1953) tells Kate "I'm gonna hug you and squeeze you and kiss you and love you," a famous quote by Elmyra Duff, a character from Tiny Toon Adventures (1990), an animated show from the 90s which featured the Looney Tunes. (The line is in turn a callback to similar lines delivered by Hugo the Abominable Snowman in earlier Looney Tunes cartoons, which in turn were references to the film Of Mice and Men (1939).)
According to the deleted scenes, the movie was originally to have a completely different opening and ending plot progression, the opening being a Batman parody while the plot itself would have stayed in the jungle and involved Tweety (who was apparently supposed to stick around with the heroes) to a greater extent.
In Imagine: From Pencils to Pixels (2003), and interview with Eric Goldberg shows that he was already pretty unhappy with the film as it was being made, expressing his frustration over how Warner Bros. was pushing for a Looney Tunes revival while simultaneously wringing out the political incorrectness that made it so great.
Billy West hates this film, primarily because he got replaced by Joe Alaskey, as Bugs' voice half-way through production (although his work as Elmer Fudd remained), and accused director Joe Dante of being too demanding and indecisive.
Billy West is the only actor to voice the same character (Elmer Fudd) in both this film and Space Jam (1996). Frank Welker was also cast in both films, but doesn't voice any Looney Tunes characters in this one.
In the 1990s, Joe Dante wanted to produce a biographical comedy with HBO, called Termite Terrace. It centered around Chuck Jones' early years at Warner Bros in the 1930s. Dante offered the project to Warner Bros and they said, "Look, it's an old story. It's got period stuff in it. We don't want that. We want to re-brand our characters and we want to do Space Jam (1996)."
This was the final film Jerry Goldsmith created music for. Due to Goldsmith's failing health, the last reel of the film was actually scored by John Debney, though Goldsmith was the only credited composer in marketing materials and the Varèse Sarabande soundtrack album only contains Goldsmith's music (although the first and last cues are adaptations of compositions heard in Warner Bros. cartoons). Debney receives an "Additional Music by" credit in the closing titles of the film and "Special Thanks" in the soundtrack album credits. Goldsmith died eight months after the film's release.
For comic effect, a pan across several famous paintings of great art in the Louvre museum stops on an early 20th century painting from the popular "Dogs Playing Poker" series by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, regarded as the epitome of kitsch, lowbrow culture and poor taste. The scene was cut for unknown reasons.