Amazon is giving us more Eddie Murphy in four years than conventional moviemaking was able to cough up in ten, a Digital Spy exclusive reveals. The multi-awarded comedian just inked a comprehensive three-picture first-look film deal with the shipping conglomerate’s Prime Video arm that may last well into the mid-2020s. This would allow the Brooklyn native to have the right of first offer — and consequently, the right of first refusal — on any movie franchise or optioned screenplay Amazon Prime will be carrying from here on out.
“Eddie is a legend both in front of and behind the camera,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, says in a statement about Eddie Murphy. “With undeniable comedic and dramatic genius, he consistently delivers entertaining, original stories and characters to audiences around the world. We could not be more excited to help carry on the tradition and to officially welcome Eddie into the Amazon family.” The subject of Eddie Murphy’s three-picture deal has yet to be determined.
Eddie Murphy’s long-awaited sequel to Coming to America may not have appealed to critics, or presented Prince Akeem Joffer’s ascension to the Zamundian throne with the same uproarious zeal as the original, and yet viewership racked up an all-time high — 1.4 billion minutes-watched on its first week. It was the best-performing movie on streaming since the start of the pandemic all the way back in March 2020. The numbers were certainly promising enough to embolden executives to jostle more Eddie Murphy films into the pipeline and give the 60-year-old more leeway as both actor and executive producer. The Coming 2 America star will be developing original content for Amazon Prime Video and three full-length features under Amazon Studios, all of which he is expected to produce and potentially headline.
While the rest of Hollywood has been busy juggling franchise after franchise throughout the 2010s, Eddie Murphy has been taking things a little too slow, having only churned out a grand total of four movies from 2009 to 2011. It took four years for the Oscar nominee to follow A Thousand Words up with Bruce Beresford’s Mr. Church, and neither film even performed to par critically or financially. Two years later in 2019, Murphy starred in Dolemite Is My Name — the actor’s only acclaimed role since Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist, and that was eight years previous. Coming 2 America wasn’t just Prince Joffer’s long-overdue pilgrimage to the United States in search of his son, it was also Eddie Murphy’s first major undertaking after nearly a decade of inactivity. To kick off the 2020s with a three-picture deal, and room for more, is definitely the icing on the cake after years of mostly lackluster offerings.
Coming 2 America kicks off 30 years after Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) weds Lisa McDowell in the first movie. Jaffe Joffer, crowned sovereign of Zamunda, is on his deathbed. His skirt-chasing middle-aged son, now a working member of the royal family bequeathed with two daughters, is primed to succeed him as king. But war has come to Zamunda. General Izzi, despotic leader of neighboring Nexdoria, is hoping to annex the Joffers’ humble nation by way of marriage. With no sons to serve as Akeem’s heir, Zamunda is ripe for a military takeover. Fortunately, King Jaffe reveals Eddie Murphy as Akeem had sired an illegitimate son by accident on his first visit to New York; if the prince can retrieve him, it could save Zamunda from General Izzi’s waiting grasp. Upon Jaffe’s passing, Akeem becomes king and he promptly returns to the United States in search of his now-adult son.
Coming 2 America, starring Eddie Murphy as King Akeem Joffer, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.