We’re in the golden age of legacy sequels, and in March 2021, we got another one with Coming 2 America. The follow-up to 1988’s Coming to America checks back in on Prince Akeem Joffer, first played by Eddie Murphy over three decades ago.
Coming to America was a huge hit in its day. It grossed $288 million at the worldwide box office and has been a cultural touchstone ever since.
The Coming to America sequel is now available on Amazon Prime Video. If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime subscription, hit the link below to sign up, and you can also watch all the other movies and series on the platform.
Now, let’s dig into everything we know about Coming 2 America.
When and where to watch Coming 2 America
As we stated Coming 2 America is now available for Amazon Prime Video. It dropped on the service March 5. You can watch the movie directly at the link below:
Why did the movie debut on Amazon Prime Video?
The streaming release wasn’t always the plan. Paramount Pictures, which produced the Coming to America sequel, had initially hoped for a theatrical release. Sadly, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it affected just about everything. While some movie theaters remain open and are starting to come back to life, Paramount opted for a safer exhibition route. Amazon Prime stepped in and acquired the film back in November of last year.
Coming 2 America joins several high-profile films that either skipped theaters or had hybrid rollouts. It joins the Borat sequel, the live-action Mulan, and Wonder Woman: 1984, among many other films released to keep audiences safe. Some big-ticket titles like Dune and the latest James Bond entry, No Time to Die, have gone through plenty delays, pushing back releases. Then others, like Tenet, hit theatres as soon as they could, despite the pandemic.
Paramount’s choice to go through Amazon may feel like it’s cheating us out of a better viewing experience, but better safe than sorry. And this way we get to see Coming 2 America with the peace of mind that comes with staying home.
Where we left off in Coming to America
It’s no wonder why Coming to America was such a hit. The film remains a comedy classic today, and the laughs hold up well.
The 1988 comedy sees Akeem Jaffer, prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, at a crossroads. The pampered Akeem is set to marry a woman he doesn’t love, and he fears settling for a life he hasn’t chosen for himself. So, he decides to take a trip. With his trusted confidante Semmi, Akeem heads to the borough of Queens, NY, hoping to find a wife he loves and respects before returning home.
Akeem’s father, King Jaffee Joffer, immediately goes looking for his son to ensure his succession and maintain order and the integrity of the Zamundan throne.
But Akeem is dedicated, and he uses his time in America to make new friends and learn about inequality and injustice in the west, getting a job at a burger joint to pay the bills. And he does this while dipping his toe into the world of dating.
The fish-out-of-water setup is hilarious, and Eddie Murphy plays Akeem as a mix of kind, compassionate outsider and goofy funnyman perfectly. Akeem succeeds in his quest and meets the smart and beautiful activist Lisa (whose father happens to own the burger chain where Akeem works). Lisa falls for Akeem and travels to Zamunda to marry him.
What is Coming 2 America all about?
In Coming 2 America, the newly-crowned King Akeem hits the road once again. He heads back to Queens from Zamunda with Semmi.
The fish-out-of-water setup of the original is reversed, with Akeem's son coming back to Zamunda to claim the throne.
The plot of the Coming to America sequel centers on the fate of the Zamunda throne. Akeem sets out to find a son he never knew he had. The young man, Lavelle, is in Queens and is theoretically heir to the throne of Zamunda. The fish-out-of-water setup of the original is reversed, with Lavelle coming back to Zamunda with his family to learn about his heritage and eventually ascend to the throne.
But a power struggle is brewing, as Akeem’s daughter, Princess Meeka, also wants to be Akeem’s successor. Complicating matters even more, the maniacal General Izzi. The older brother of Akeem’s scorned intended bride, Imani, General Izzi wants to take the throne by force.
This isn’t the first attempt at building off of the success of Coming to America. In 1989, CBS ordered a pilot for a spinoff series, in which Akeem’s brother Tariq takes his turn to visit the US as a student. King Akeem has exiled his brother Tariq for being a prankster and an embarrassment to the family. The pilot wasn’t well received and was never ordered to series.
Who’s involved in the Coming to America sequel?
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall have reprised their roles as Akim and Semmi, along with several other outlandish characters, true to form. James Earl Jones and Shari Headley also return in Coming 2 America. They once again appear in their roles as King Jaffe Joffer and the new Queen Lisa, respectively.
Other original cast members returning from Coming to America include John Amos and Louie Anderson. And Wesley Snipes joins the cast as the main antagonist, General Izzi.
Some other new faces, including big stars, round out the cast. These include Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha, and Teyana Taylor.
Behind the camera, Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield, and Justin Kanew wrote Coming 2 America. And Craig Brewer, who directed Murphy in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, directs. Brewer took over directing duties from John Landis, who helmed the original Coming to America.
What’s been the critical and audience reaction to the movie?
Since the release of Coming 2 America on March 5, Amazon told Deadline that the movie had the biggest opening weekend of any streaming movie in 2021, and also had the biggest opening weekend of any streaming movie in the past 12 months, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, Nielsen said that the film was the most-streamed movie from any streaming service for its first two weeks.
While the movie may have a good start in terms of its Amazon Prime Video streaming audience, actual reviews from both critics and viewers have not been kind. The IMDb score for Coming 2 America is currently at 5.3 out of 10, compared to the original Coming to America, which has a 7.1 IMBb rating. Rotten Tomatoes has a 49% rating from critics for Coming 2 America, and an even lower 38% audience score. The original Coming to America had a 72% Rotton Tomatoes score, and an 82% audience score.