There are movies most Malawians live to remember. The 1988 comedy, Coming to America featuring Eddie Murphy falls on the list of movies some Malawians will live to remember.
So, when Amazon Studios released the first photos of the sequel Coming to America on Thursday last week, Malawians were salivating, if posts on social media are anything to go by. The film will be premiered in 240 countries on Prime Video on March 5 2021, after Amazon acquired worldwide rights for the movie from Paramount Pictures.
One of the first pictures show Murphy, now as King Akeem, in a jacket made from African fabric seated on a kingly throne. In another, he is with Queen Lisa (Shari Headley) and in another shot, he is with his sidekick Semmi (Arsenio Hill). Other pictures show scenes in that famous barbershop in Queens, the American city where Akeem and Semmi spent time in the search of a bride for the son of King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) of Zamunda.
And the tongues went wagging among the Malawian lovers of the film, especially on Facebook. In one thread on the Oldies Connection 70s group, they were sharing some of the striking quotes from the earlier movie
“Good morning my neighbours!” “Why does Lisa get all the best things?”
“Let them wait, I am talking to my son.” There is a rat, a big rat.” The quotes from the movie were just flowing.
According to a statement last month from Adam Keen, publicity principal at Joy Sapieka and Associates, Coming to America brings King Akeem and his confidante Semmi back to Queens, New York City, where his life with Queen Lisa began.
“Joining the star-studded ensemble are Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Bella Murphy and [the Souz th African] Nomzamo Mbatha, among others. This makes Coming 2 America the most anticipated comedy film of the year,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios said in the statement.
The statement, made available to On The Arts, adds that Coming to America was a cultural phenomenon that is one of the most loved and celebrated comedies of all time.
“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,” says Salke.
For audiences around the world, like those in Malawi who anticipate the movie on the edges of their seats, Salke’s promise is clear: “We know they will fall in love with this hilarious, joyful movie that will surely become a timeless favourite.”
For producer Kevin Misher, there is more excitement at Amazon Studios to send worldwide audiences into stitches of laughter.
“What could be better than a return to Zamunda? We are excited to bring Eddie Murphy and Coming to America to a worldwide audience where they can laugh again with characters they have loved for 30 years, and new ones they will love for years to come,” he says.
Coming to America premiered in theatres in 1988 to become a box office sensation, bagging a gross of $288 million. It was translated into 25 languages.
So, as the sands in the hourglass trickle towards March 5 2021, Malawian movie lovers can hold their breaths. Will it be the lush and royal Zamunda setting under King Akeem that will wow them? Or, will they be swayed by the motley arguments of the barbershop crew in Queens?
One clear thing, however, is that you are never wrong with Eddie Murphy. The Nutty Professor, Dr Doolittle and the Beverly Hills Cop series bear testimony. n\