Paramount has started development on Coming to America 2. Eddie Murphy’s meteoric rise to become America’s most popular comedic movie star arguably hit its zenith in 1988 with the original Coming to America, a fish-out-of-water story starring Murphy as an African prince who becomes fed up with the brainless potential wives being pushed on him by his father and journeys to Queens to uncover the non-servile woman of his dreams. Not only did the movie afford Murphy an opportunity to showcase the softer qualities underlying his cocky on-screen persona, it also allowed him to skillfully portray an array of different supporting characters of varying ethnicities. The film is now largely remembered for the scenes where Murphy and co-star Arsenio Hall, with the aid of prosthetics, portray a group of old men who hang out in a barbershop and argue vociferously about boxing.
Coming to America was such a huge hit for Murphy that a sequel seemed inevitable. But for whatever reason, Coming to America 2 never happened, and gradually Murphy’s comedic star sank until he became known more for his wacky voice acting in family films than his time as an edgy star of R-rated comedy movies.
There are rumblings now that suggest Eddie Murphy is perhaps ready to put his days as a family-friendly comedian behind him and try to regain the adult-comedy throne he surrendered decades ago. A second sequel to his star-making film Beverly Hills Cop has been in the works for awhile, and now you can add a Coming to America sequel to the docket. The Tracking Board reports that Paramount is developing Coming to America 2 and that they have hired the original movie’s writers Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield to write the script.
Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop
In March, word initially came down that Murphy might be involved in writing a Coming to America sequel himself (he wrote the story for the original film), and the rumor was further stoked when Murphy’s Twitter account posted an apparent Coming to America 2 teaser. However, Murphy’s Twitter account quickly vanished, a development that could be seen as confirmation that something was indeed going on.
With Murphy and the original movie’s writers reportedly on-board, one wonders if Paramount will now contact Coming to America director John Landis about joining up. Landis was a hot director in 1988 when Coming to America came out, but he has since entirely faded from the Hollywood scene, becoming in recent years almost exclusively a maker of documentaries and TV episodes as well as a frequent and fascinating contributor to the website Trailers From Hell. Murphy and Landis have made two other films together, including Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop 3.
After so long being content to act in family films like Shrek and Daddy Day Care, mixing in the occasional stab at a legit performance in movies like Dreamgirls and Mr. Church, one has to ask why Eddie Murphy is now belatedly revisiting two of his most successful ’80s vehicles. Could it be that Murphy is tired of being dismissed and wants to prove he still has it? Or does he simply see the promise of a big pay-day by jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon?
We’ll keep you updated on Coming to America 2 as more information becomes available.