Amazon Prime has finalized acquisition of worldwide rights to "Coming 2 America," the long awaited sequel to the 1988 comedy classic starring Eddie Murphy, and will release it to subscribers globally on March 5, 2021, the company announced Friday.
Paramount originally slated the movie for a Dec. 22 opening in theaters. But after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the year's theatrical release schedule, the studio began talks in October to sell "Coming 2 America" to Amazon in a deal worth around $125 million.
The sequel, which reunites Murphy with his "Dolemite Is My Name" director Craig Brewer, is set 30 years after the original as Murphy's Prince Akeem prepares to ascend to the throne of the fictional African nation of Zamunda -- only to discover that he has a long-lost son named Lavelle who lives in Queens.
To respect his father's dying wish, he returns to America to find Lavelle and groom him as the new crown prince. Murphy stars alongside returning cast members Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos, and Louie Anderson. They're joined by Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha and Teyana Taylor.
And yes, once again Murphy and Hall will be breaking out the prosthetic makeup to play a variety of other characters. (Hooray!)
1988's "Coming to America," directed by John Landis, followed Prince Akeem (Murphy), heir to the throne of African nation of Zamunda, who travels to Queens with his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to escape an arranged marriage and find a wife who would love him regardless of his royal title. The film co-starred James Earl Jones as Akeem's father, King Jaffe Joffer, Madge Sinclair as his mother Queen Aoleon, Shari Headley as Akeem's love interest Lisa McDowell, John Amos as Lisa's father, fast food restaurateur Cleo McDowell, Louie Anderson as one of Cleo's employees, and Eriq La Salle as Daryll, Akeem's rival for Lisa's affections. Murphy and Hall also played a variety of supporting comedic roles, most famously a group of barbershop patrons.
"Coming to America was a cultural phenomenon that is one of the most loved and celebrated comedies of all time," Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios said in a statement. "Thanks to Eddie Murphy's comedic genius along with the brilliant filmmakers, writers and fabulous cast, we couldn't be more excited to celebrate this new adventure. We know audiences around the world will fall in love with this hilarious, joyful movie that will surely become a timeless favorite."
"What could be better than a return to Zamunda? We are so excited for Amazon Studios to bring Eddie Murphy and Coming 2 America to a worldwide audience where they can laugh again with characters they have loved for 30 years, and meet new ones that they will love for years to come," producer Kevin Misher said.
"Coming 2 America" is from Paramount Pictures in association with New Republic Pictures, and produced by Eddie Murphy Productions and Misher Films. It was written by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield, with story by Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield and Justin Kanew, based on characters created by Eddie Murphy. Kevin Misher and Eddie Murphy produced, with Brian Oliver, Bradley Fischer, Valerii An, Kenya Barris, Charisse Hewitt-Webster, Michele Imperato Stabile and Andy Berman on as executive producers.