UPDATED: Sources say the deal is closed by Amazon, in the $125 million range.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE; Is the slumping theatrical marketplace about to lose another plum film title from the movie marquee?
Deadline hears there is a deal brewing between Amazon and Paramount to move Eddie Murphy’s Coming 2 America sequel to a streaming premiere. Paramount had the picture slated for a Christmas release. But the uncertainty of the marketplace — as evidenced by the low U.S. grosses for movies like Tenet, which in a non-pandemic moment would have grossed significantly more — has made putting a movie in theaters a risky proposition. I don’t believe a deal is closed and it is possible there could be a change of heart, but the talks are serious, I hear.
There is no sign of when the country’s two biggest markets, New York and Los Angeles, will reopen, and next year’s schedule will be severely crowded with all kinds of event films, and that includes pics like Wonder Woman 1984 the 007 film Die Another Day and the Paramount releases A Quiet Place 2 and Top Gun: Maverick, which have pushed back because of the pandemic, and could likely move again if things don’t change quickly. There is a revenue event to be had here, and sources said that this transaction is likely going to be worth in the neighborhood of $125 million to Paramount. Add to that the relief for executives not to have to sweat worrying about a fraction of the theatergoing audience showing up for a movie they would flock to at any other moment. It’s a new chapter of a beloved movie starring Murphy, who showed in Dolemite Is My Name and in his Saturday Night Live hosting stint that he has lost nothing off his fastball. This is another blow to exhibitors: the original did $288 million in global ticket sales in 1988. The deal is comparable to films like Trolls, Mulan and Soul moving to streaming platforms, only this one involves an outside streamer by necessity.
In the sequel, Murphy’s ruler of Zamunda character Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet the unlikely heir to the throne. Craig Brewer directed. It is the second deal between Paramount and Amazon, after the Michael Jordan-starrer Without Remorse, an adaptation of the Tom Clancy bestseller.
Assuming it closes — I hear it’s close — this brings another event movie into the Amazon fold, following the acquisition of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel, which Deadline revealed two weeks ago.