“Coming 2 America,” the sequel to the 1988 Eddie Murphy classic, is reportedly in the process of being sold by Paramount to Amazon Studios. The deal, first reported by Deadline, is in the neighborhood of a whopping $125 million.
Variety reported that the movie is set to premiere on Amazon Prime December 18, presumably bypassing theaters amid struggles for the exhibition sector during the pandemic.
The sequel follows African prince Akeem (Murphy), who in the original John Landis-directed film heads to New York to escape an arranged marriage, as he readies to become king of a fictional African country. He discovers a son he never new about in America, and Akeem and Semmi (Arsenio Hall) head back to America to groom the son as the next crown prince. James Earl Jones also reprises his role. Tracy Morgan and Jay Pharaoh are also in the cast.
For its part, this is just the latest instance of Paramount unloading a film to a streamer this year and the second film the studio sold to Amazon.
Netflix this year bought from Paramount Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” the rom-com “The Lovebirds,” and an untitled Ryan Reynolds/Shawn Levy adventure film. The Mark Wahlberg adventure film “Arthur The King” is now at Lionsgate and Stefano Sollima’s “Without Remorse” is set to be released by Amazon.
Meantime, studios including Sony have also sold their once-theatrically bound movies to streamers. The studio’s Tom Hanks war drama “Greyhound” was sold to Apple.
The “Coming 2 America” news comes a day after Disney, the theatrical behemoth that owned 40 percent of last year’s domestic box office, announced it would restructure its business to favor streaming. Many theaters across the US reopened over the summer to get ready to show Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” It spent five weeks at the number-one spot until last weekend, grossing a lackluster $48.3 million.
Meanwhile, number-two theater circuit Regal Cinemas is temporarily closing nearly all of its 536 of its US locations once again, as number-one chain AMC Theatres warned Tuesday that it could run out of cash by the end of the year. The chain cited a reduced number of releases from studios as part of the risk; tentpoles such as Bond entry “No Time To Die,” have moved from scheduled fall releases to next year.