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 Brothers 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 Sir Alfred Hitchcock used Bosco's chocolate syrup in the original scene to better simulate blood in black and white.
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 Hispanic people, a point which became moot when some representatives of the Latino community organized a movement to get Speedy back on the air.
When Bugs enters the conference room at the beginning of the movie he says "How's the wife, Bobby? Great nose job Chuck. Good rug Mel, never would have guessed", references to Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc. The first line to "Bobby" is a reference to legendary Looney Tunes animator Bob Clampett.
The last film Jerry Goldsmith would score. Due to Goldsmith's failing health, the last reel of the film was 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".
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 Joe Dante wanted some non-Warner Brothers characters in the film like Tom & Jerry, and Droopy, but Warner Brothers 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.
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.
Technically, the final traditionally animated Warner Brothers movie, albeit one blended with live-action. Though Warner Brothers Feature Animation closed its doors in 2001 after the release of Osmosis Jones (2001), the department was briefly dug out of retirement for this movie.
Despite being directed by acknowledged fans of the original cartoons, production was reportedly a disaster. Warner Brothers, 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.
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".
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.).
The character animation of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters in this film was traditionally hand-drawn. Computer technology is used to color the animation drawings in, add tone mattes and shadows to the characters, and composite them over the correct backgrounds. 3-D 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.
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.
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!"
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), the film was released. Unfortunately, the movie opened just after Brother Bear (2003) and Elf (2003), and just before The Cat in the Hat (2003) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). Warner Brothers refused to promote the film because of its chaotic production and overrun budget.
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 Joe Dante of being too demanding and indecisive.
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, but the project was revived in the 2010s by animation division Warner Animation Group with the goal of a 2021 release starring LeBron James.
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 Brothers was pushing for a Looney Tunes revival, while simultaneously wringing out the political incorrectness that made it so great.
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.
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.
Billy West (Elmer Fudd and Peter Lorre), Bob Bergen (Porky Pig) and June Foray (Granny) are the only actors to voice the same character in 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, instead voicing some CGI alien monsters in Area 52.
In the scene where Daffy realizes that D.J. Drake lives with his father, D.J. lies and tells Daffy that he's a stuntman. He then goes further and says that he's in the Mummy movies "more than Brendan Fraser is." D.J. is played by Brendan Fraser.
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 1990s, 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).)
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.
The DVD-ROM contains ten full deleted or extended scenes. 1. An alternate opening with Daffy presenting a Batman-like project for himself to star. 2. Daffy being thrown out of the WB studio lot along with D.J. (Brendan Fraser). 3. A brief scene where D.J. and Daffy are running through the Vegas streets, and Daffy momentarily gets distracted by some show girls. 4. A scene in the desert where Bugs and Daffy taunt D.J. and Kate's (Jenna Elfman) predicament. 5. A much longer fight sequence in Area 52, including a long sequence where Daffy and Marvin the Martian board spaceships and battle each other through the Grand Canyon. 6. The heroes try to pass a Gauntlet of Death. Daffy is not successful. 7. Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) punishing one of his representatives (Robert Picardo) 8. Daffy being transformed into a fly. 9. D.J. tries to save Kate from Bill Goldberg on the Eiffel Tower. 10. Alternate ending where D.J. battles Mr. Chairman in the jungle ruins over the Blue Monkey diamond.
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)".
For comic effect, a pan across several famous paintings of great art in the Louvre museum stops on an early twentieth 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 shot was cut for unknown reasons.
Brendan Fraser's commitment with this film led him to not being able to reprise his role as the titular character of the direct-to Video/DVD sequel to George of the Jungle (1997) (which was even joked about in the film itself by Fraser's look-alike who took over the role Christopher Showerman, stating that the studio was too cheap to rehire him), which was released a month prior to this film.
Is the 4th Live Action Film to have Danny Mann doing voice over work. He wasn't casted as any Looney Tunes in this film, but he did voice the Spy Car and provided the Vocal Effects for the ACME Robotic Guard Dog during the Climax. His previous 3 times had been Babe (1995), it's sequel Babe: Pig in the City (1998), and Cats & Dogs (2001), the latter of which had also been from Warner Bros..
The Daleks in this film appear before the new series of Doctor Who began, and as such rather than being borrowed from the BBC seem to have been constructed specially for the movie, as their dimensions are rather unusual. They mostly resemble movie Daleks (from Dr. Who and the Daleks, 1965) with large smooth horseshoe-shaped fenders and jagged shoulder rings, but they have paint jobs that resemble original TV series Daleks, dome light designs never seen before or since, skirts that are symmetrically conical (Dalek skirts conventionally lean towards the back), and the gun and sucker arms are disproportionately small with no gun detail whatsoever, merely a smooth hollow tube.
This was last Warner Bros. animated film to be produced under the Warner Bros Feature Animation label. All theatrical animated films distributed by Warner Bros. (original CGI animated films, major live action/CGI hybrids, follow ups and spinoffs to previous animated Warner Bros. films, films based off Animated Shows associated with Warner Bros.), starting with The Lego Movie (2014) were produced by Warner Animation Group.
The Daleks in this film appear before the new series of Doctor Who began, and as such rather than being borrowed from the BBC seem to have been constructed specially for the movie, as their dimensions are rather unusual. They mostly resemble movie Daleks (from 'Dr Who and the Daleks' and 'Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD') with large smooth horseshoe shaped fenders and low angled shoulder rings, but have paint jobs that resemble original TV series Daleks, dome light designs never seen before or since, skirts that are symmetrically conical (Dalek skirts conventionally lean towards the back), and the gun and sucker arms are disproportionately small with no gun detail whatsoever.
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 Brothers in the 1930s. Dante offered the project to Warner Brothers 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)."