1997’s comedy Air Bud
Air Bud is the 1997 feature film that sparked the franchise centered around the fictional dog Buddy, a Golden Retriever. The movie’s title may be wordplay with “Air Jordan”, a nickname of basketball superstar Michael Jordan.
The original movie was successful, grossing US$4 million in its opening weekend and totaling US$24 million for its final run, against an estimated $3 million budget.
The plot revolves around a 12-year-old boy, Josh Framm, who has an interest in basketball. After the death of his father, Josh moves with his family to Washington State and is too shy to try out for his middle school’s basketball team and too shy to make any friends. Through a series of coincidences, Josh meets Buddy, a Golden Retriever who escaped his cruel owner, an alcoholic clown Norman Snively. Josh soon learns that Bud has the ability to play the sport of basketball.
Buddy becomes the mascot of Josh’s school’s basketball team and begins appearing in their halftime shows. But just before the championship game, Buddy’s original owner, Snively steals Buddy from Josh. Josh then infiltrates Snively’s backyard where Buddy is. Snively can’t see him due to a stack of cans on his windowsill. The stack of cans then falls and Josh is caught infiltrating Snively’s backyard. Josh gets Buddy off the chain. Snively then chases Josh in his clown truck. The chase rages on to parking lots near a lake. The van’s steering wheel is then acidentally taken off and rolls across a few parking lots. Snively and his own clown truck falls in the water but doesn’t drown. A few minutes after the chase, Josh then decides to set him free to find someone else. Initially, his team is losing at the championship until Buddy shows up. When it is discovered that there is no rule that a dog cannot play basketball, Buddy joins the roster to lead the team to a come from behind championship victory. Snively sues the Framm family for custody of Bud. It is decided that the dog will choose who will be its rightful owner at the suggestion of Josh’s coach, a former Knicks player. Buddy attacks Snively and runs to Josh causing the judge to grant custody of Buddy to Josh while Snivley is dragged away by the police.
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