If you’re one of those who prayed for a sequel to “Coming to America” and wondered why that never became a reality, the star of that film, Eddie Murphy, addressed the matter while he was on his co-star Arsenio Hall’s new late-night talk-show last week, as the pair reminisced on this year being the 25th anniversary of the film’s release.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I was just fine with the film ending as it did, and never gave a single thought to the potential for a sequel. So I’m perfectly OK with the fact that we didn’t get one. Although it appears there were indeed talks of one.
And in light of current conversations about Hollywood studio and press underestimating audience reception for, as well as box office potential of “black films” (see “Best Man Holiday” most recently), I must remind you all that “Coming to America” was actually not screened for the press before it was released in theaters, back in 1988, suggesting that the studio wasn’t too confident in how it would be received.
It is said that the film was screened once for the press in New York, but reactions to it by those members of the press who attended was so terrible that the studio, Paramount, decided it best to cancel all future press screenings for the film, ahead of its release.
But as we all know today, despite the studio’s apparent worries, as well as the negative reception by the only press that did see it, the film went on to become a financial blockbuster! In fact, it was the 3rd highest grossing film of 1988, taking home $128,152,301 domestic (adjusted for inflation, that’s about $250 million in today’s money). Globally, it grossed $288,752,301, or about $550 million in today’s dollars!
And it’s gone on to become a comedy classic. Obviously studio chiefs don’t always know what exactly they have in front of them.
Here are Eddie with Arsenio on why there has been no “Coming to America” sequel: