With studios under intense pressure to turn a profit now, Paramount makes the first move and sells off what we think would have been a very successful comedy, Coming 2 America, to Amazon, who plans to release it to streaming in December.
The original Coming to America was directed by John Landis and came out in 1988. Murphy played African prince Akeem, who travels to New York City to escape an arranged marriage. Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and John Amos co-starred. It has some of the funniest scenes ever put to film, with Murphy and Hall playing multiple characters.
The film grossed nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office that year.
In the sequel, Prince Akeem is set to become king of Zamunda when he discovers he has a son he never knew about in America—a street-smart Queens native named Lavelle. To honor the former king’s dying wish to groom his grandson as the prince, Akeem and Semmi set off to America.
Murphy, Hall, and Jones are reprising their roles. The supporting cast includes Tracy Morgan and Jay Pharaoh.
The long-anticipated sequel to the Eddie Murphy classic was seen as a huge title, and has two complex consumer marketing tie-ins with McDonald's and whiskey brand Crown Royal, which are expected to transfer over to Amazon Studios with the film.
Murphy has yet to give his public blessing, but with his success with Dolemite on Netflix, no one anticipates him balking at the sale.
Amazon will release the sequel to Borat and the Tom Clancy/Michael B. Jordan Without Remorse movie as well. The studio also picked up Regina King’s One Night in Miami, which seems to be their Academy Awards push.
With theaters still closed, there is a streaming arms race coming. So far, only Netflix has been consistently putting out new stuff. Now it seems like as long as streamers are willing to buy, there will be sellers.
Paramount has been selling all year. They pushed Aaron Sorkin’s Trial of the Chicago 7 and the action-comedy Lovebirds to Netflix. They were also the studio that sold Without Remorse to Amazon.
Only time will tell who else will join them.