Roosevelt-raised comedy icon Eddie Murphy has signed with Amazon Studios to star in three films and to develop original movie projects for its sister streaming service, Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon Studios said Wednesday that the deal follows the success of Murphy's streaming comedy "Coming 2 America," the sequel to his 1988 hit "Coming to America" that was released in March. While the new film attained a middling 49% positive rating on the film-critic review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and only a 38% in positive ratings by responding audience-members on that site, it was the most-streamed movie of its opening weekend and remains the top opening weekend of any streaming movie in 2021 to date, Amazon said, citing Screen Engine/ASI's weekly "PostVOD" ranking.
Murphy, who has no social media other than an authorized Facebook fan page, has not commented publicly. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said in a statement, "Eddie is a legend both in front of and behind the camera. With undeniable comedic and dramatic genius, he consistently delivers entertaining, original stories and characters to audiences around the world. We could not be more excited to help carry on the tradition and to officially welcome Eddie into the Amazon family."
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Roosevelt from age 9, Murphy got his start in Long Island comedy clubs and went on to star on "Saturday Night Live." A string of hit films followed, including "48 Hrs." (1982), "Trading Places" (1983), "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984), the animated "Shrek" (2001) and others.
While continuing to do voice work on the expansive "Shrek" film and TV franchise, he starred in only four movies in the 2010s: "Tower Heist" (2011), "A Thousand Words" (2012), "Mr. Church" (2016), and Netflix's "Dolemite Is My Name" (2019). He has two movies upcoming for Netflix: The long-gestating fourth feature film in the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise, and an untitled comedy starring himself and Jonah Hill, and directed and co-written by "Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris.
Murphy was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006 for his supporting role in "Dreamgirls." In 2020, he won his first Emmy after five previous nominations for variously acting, writing or producing, taking the outstanding guest actor in a comedy series award for hosting an episode of "Saturday Night Live."