'Coming 2 America' Director Defends Eddie Murphy Sequel's PG-13 Rating

Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (2021).
Everett Collection

Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (2021).

Craig Brewer stressed that the country has changed a great deal since the 1988 original film, and that needed to be kept in mind when making the new movie.

Coming to America fans who have been longing for a sequel to the Eddie Murphy-Arsenio Hall classic may have been surprised to learn that the comedy 33 years in the making would be rated PG-13. The original was rated R.

However, director Craig Brewer told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday that Amazon Prime Video's Coming 2 America will have just as much bite as the original — just not the nudity and peppered F-bombs.

"If an R-rated movie would work then we would do an R-rated movie," Brewer told WSJ. "I think we still have a really hilarious movie and we do push the boundaries on a PG-13 movie here and there. If you look at the first movie, other than the gratuitous nudity of the bathers and some swearing, it is actually rather wholesome. It’s got a fairytale feel to it."

Murphy and Hall, along with much of the original cast, return for Coming 2 America. And Brewer said he knew expectations would be high among fans as the film is a beloved Murphy classic the likes of Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hrs. and Trading Places.

"I know what it’s like to have people go, 'Can’t wait to see it' and then threaten me and say, 'You better not mess it up because that movie means a lot to me.'" the director said. "My job on set was to be the guardian of what from the original movie can be celebrated, and then what’s going overboard, because we did want this movie to be its own thing."

Brewer also stressed that the country has changed a great deal since the 1988 original film, and that needed to be kept in mind when making the sequel.

"We didn’t want to ignore the fact that Prince Akeem in the first movie left the wife that he was betrothed to through his king hopping and barking like a dog. I can guarantee you that would not make it through the third draft of a script that would come through the Hollywood system today," he said. "There was always this line that we had to judge with how far we’d go with the comedy."

He added, "We found as we started testing it with fans of the original, we were testing it when there were Black Lives Matter protests happening in the streets, the conscience of the country was beginning to shift, and so we asked, 'How can we still be relevant to this movie, to be funny but at the same time be sensitive to racial and gender issues?'”

Coming 2 America is set to release digitally Friday on Amazon Prime Video.