LeBron James will make his film debut alongside Kevin Hart in “Ballers”
Have you seen Kevin Hart in a film recently? The 5’2 comedian has appeared in 5 movies since last year and currently has 4 films that are in post-production or being filmed right now. With the greenlight of a new film called ‘Ballers,’ you can add 1 more film to his IMDB filmography that seems to grow as fast Samuel Jackson’s page. But what makes ‘Ballers’ so much more intriguing than another Ice Cube sidekick flick or a remake of ‘About Last Night’ is that ‘Ballers’ will mark the film debut of LeBron James. LeBron previously appeared in the 2008 documentary “More Than A Game,” had a cameo on the HBO show Entourage and did voice-over for the LeBron’s animated series but ‘Ballers’ will be the true test to see how much box office mojo the King has.
‘Ballers’ was originally conceived back in 2009 under producer Brian Grazer with the title “Fantasy Basketball Camp” but it’s now being executive produced by LeBron, his business partner Maverick Carter, Kevin Hart and Kim Roth. Hart will also co-write the script about his character, who is the little brother of LeBron James, that attends a fantasy basketball camp in Miami.
History has shown us that films with lead roles played by basketball players aren’t that profitable so it will be very interesting to see if LeBron’s popularity is enough to make it a box office hit. Most recently, Kevin Durant starred in Thunderstruck which was one of the biggest flops by a major studio in recent memory. The film grossed $587k in the theaters and was released on DVD a month later. Thunderstruck grossed less money in the theaters than Space Jam did during matinee showings on opening day. Michael Jordan’s Space Jam, which also benefited from having the loony tunes and being released after his first retirement, eventually grossed over $230 million (90 domestically) which makes it the highest grossing film with a NBA player in a major role.
Here’s a list of films with NBA players in supporting or lead roles and how well they did (in millions) at the box office. Also be sure to consider inflation and the rise of ticket prices and the amount of screenings when comparing the films. Back in the mid 90s, most theaters didn’t carry more than 10 films and tickets were between $2.50-7.50.
- Space Jam (1996) w/ Michael Jordan: $230
- Grown Ups 2 (2013) w/ Shaq: $133
- Scary Movie 4 (2006) w/ Shaq: $90
- Airplane (1980) w/ Kareem: $83
- Like Mike (2002) w/ lots of players: $62
- Eddie (1996) w/ lots of players: $31
- Blue Chips (1994) w/ Shaq & Penny Hardaway: $23
- He Got Game (1998) w/ Ray Allen: $21
- Just Wright (2010) w/ lots of players: $21
- Kazaam (1996) w/ Shaq: $19
- Double Team (1997) w/ Dennis Rodman: $11
- The Perfect Score (2004) w/ Darius Miles: $10
- Black and White (2000) w/ Allan Houston: $5.2
- Steel (1997) w/ Shaq 1.7
- Thunderstruck (2012) w/ Kevin Durant: $587k
- Minis (2007) w/ Dennis Rodman – Straight to DVD
It’s going to be tough for LeBron and Hart to reach the numbers of Shaq’s recent films where he’s not in it long enough to jinx them but it shouldn’t be too hard beating out Shaq’s Steel which doesn’t get enough mentions when people are discussing the worst superhero films of all-time.
Source: Deadline Hollywood