“Air” movie hits theaters and pleases fans


Jane Holmes

Nike air sneakers worn on a student at Bernards High school.

The highly anticipated Michael Jordan movie, “Air,” was released on April 5, 2023. The movie spotlights Nike employee Sonny Vaccaro and his pursuit of rookie Michael Jordan to become the face of the brand. Before signing Jordan, Nike’s basketball shoes were not selling and likely to be shut down, until they took a chance on rookie Michael Jordan. Jordan, being in favor of other brands like Adidas and Converse, was pulled over because of the attention he would receive from Nike. Also, with the encouragement of his mom, Jordan would sign to the brand on the condition that he would get a percentage of the sales of the Air Jordan’s.

The movie doesn’t feature Michael Jordan or a character playing Mike. Director Ben Affleck explains, “Jordan is too big.” The movie makes more sense without Jordan: “he exists above and around the story,…’Yes, that’s Michael Jordan,’ we know it’s not, really. It’s fake.” Jordan not being in the movie helps shine light on other people who made this whole success happen and eventually sign him. While some are upset that Jordan isn’t featured, this story is more about Nike and the change of their brand with Jordan, rather than his story. Jordan’s story was already told in Netflix’s docu-series “The Last Dance.”

The movie is directed by Ben Affleck and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, as well as Amazon Studios. The movie’s budget was from $70 million to $90 million and as of April 16, they have grossed a total of $54.1 million. Somewhat surprisingly, the movie is rated R because of language and violence. The movie runs for a total of 1 hour and 52 minutes. Air has received a 91% from Rotten Tomatoes, a 7.8/10 from IMDb, and a 3.9/5 from Movie Insider.

Although getting mostly positive 4 to 5 star reviews, there were some negative reviews. One review talks about their dislike of “Ben Affleck’s dry acting.” Robyn Di gave the movie just 2 out of 5 stars and also said, “This story doesn’t need to be told – only the JORDANS FAMILY story.” The reviewer does mention that the music was a big upside in the movie.

The cast of the movie was full of stars. Ben Affleck played Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike), Matt Damon played Sonny Vaccaro (the man who took a chance on Jordan), and Jason Bateman, just to name a few. The real Sonny Vaccaro also makes an appearance.

Today, Jordan makes about 5% of sales, which might not seem like much. But Nike makes well over $3.5 billion a year just off of Jordan products. In 2022, Nike made $5.1 million and Jordan pocketed $256 million of that.