Coming 2 America – Marketing Recap

How Amazon is selling a much-anticipated and long-gestating comedy sequel.

To say there’s a fair amount of pent-up demand for Coming 2 America, the sequel to the 1988 original, a bonafide comedy classic, would be a significant understatement. 30+ years later, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall return as Akeem and his friend and confidant Semmi, respectively. Akeem, having raised a family over the years, has now ascended to the throne of Zamunda but learned from his dying father (James Earl Jones) that he has a son he never knew back in America. So he and Semmi make their way back to Queens to connect with Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) and, of course, engage in other hijinks.

Craig Brewer takes over directorial duties from John Landis, and the movie also stars Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Kiki Layne, Wesley Snipes and a host of others both new and returning. With a disappointing 52% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon Studios’ campaign has sought to sell it as both familiar and new.

The Posters

The first teaser poster (by marketing agency BLT Communications) came out in mid-December, simply showing Akeem looking joyfully out the window of his royal limousine with a highway sign pointing to New York seen in the reflection of the window.

In early February the theatrical poster came out, evoking the design of the original but with a lot more characters spread around the layout. In fact it looks more like the poster for an MCU or other super hero movie than a mid-level comedy. Whatever the case, it works by presenting a big-name cast, all apparently having a great time.

A first batch of character posters focusing on Akeem, Semmi, Lisa and King Jaffe.

A second batch offered looks at Akeem and Lisa’s daughters as well as Lisa’s father and Lavelle.

The third and final batch added General Izzy and others to the mix.

The Trailers

The first trailer (14.7m views on YouTube) came out in late December and immediately establishes where we’re at in terms of Akeem’s story. His dying father has informed him he has a son in America and so, despite Semmi’s reluctance, the two are once again headed back to Queens to find the now-adult boy. There are lots of new characters briefly introduced, but the centerpiece, of course, is the return of the barbershop crew as well as others played by Murphy and Hall in various amounts of makeup. It’s glorious.

The second trailer (20.6m views on YouTube), released in early February, goes a little deeper into the story but hits many of the same beats. We see a bit more of how General Izzi wants to take over Zamumda and some of the hijinks that happen once they get Akeem’s son back to the country. It’s the same basic message, just fleshed out a bit.

Online and Social

No stand-alone informational website I could find, but Amazon did create social profiles like this Twitter page for the movie to share promos and other updates.

Advertising and Publicity

The movie going into production was officially announced in early January, with Murphy returning and director Craig Brewer behind the camera, the latter of which got people’s attention in a big way. Casting news – including new and returning actors – were the focus for a while after that.

In October news came that wasn’t wholly surprising given the pandemic situation. Specifically, it was reported Paramount was finalizing a deal to sell the movie to Amazon since a theatrical release date was uncertain at best. That deal was officially sealed in November, with Amazon giving it a spring release date.

It was revealed just a couple weeks ago that Amazon planned to advertise the film during the upcoming Super Bowl. That spot is essentially a cut down version of the second trailer, pulling out some of the bigger jokes and plot points.

The soundtrack, with a new song from Bobby Sessions and Megan Thee Stallion, came out earlier this month.

Morgan, Jones and others from the cast showed up in a reworked version of the Soul Glo commercial from the original.

Amazon Studios scheduled a watch party, sponsored by Pepsi, for Friday 3/5 and encouraged the audience to get in on the action by dressing up and sharing their party lewks and plans online.

Additional promotional partners included

  • Rent The Runway, which offered a coupon code tied to the movie.
  • The Brooklyn Nets, which promoted the movie in a series of Tweets during a recent game.
  • Spotify, which created character-specific playlists to help introduce them to the audience.
  • HSTRY Clothing, which created a movie-inspired clothing collection.
  • Crown Royal, which offered a new movie-branded package designed by costume designer Ruth E. Carter.

Media and Press

Murphy continued talking about the movie while promoting Dolemite Is My Name through the end of 2019. And Layne commented briefly on it while promoting The Old Guard in mid-2020. Similarly, Jones mentioned it during an interview about other projects in October.

A handful of stills were finally released in late December, just before the trailer came out.

An interview with Fowler was part of EW’s 2021 Movie Preview, with the actor talking about how excited he was to be part of the sequel.

Ruth E. Carter was interviewed about crafting the look of the characters at about the same time she became the first Black costume designer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

How and why the two stars came back for a sequel, something they had previously pledged not to do, became a central focus when Hall appeared on “The Late Show,” Murphy appeared on “The Tonight Show” and both of them on “Kimmel.” Fowler also talked about the movie on “The Tonight Show”

Murphy and his daughter were interviewed about the legacy of the original film and what it was like to bring the sequel to completion all these years later.


I’ll be honest when I first heard the movie was happening i was all

Coming 2 America GIF by Amazon Prime Video - Find & Share on GIPHY

But then as the trailer and other assets were released I started to be all

Coming 2 America GIF by Amazon Prime Video - Find & Share on GIPHY

Until finally I was all

Coming 2 America GIF by Amazon Prime Video - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Old Guard – Marketing Recap

How Netflix is selling its latest sci-fi action film.

The Old Guard, based on the graphic novel of the same name, star Charlize Theron as Andy, the leader of a group of mercenaries who have a particular advantage: They’re immortal. She and her team have been fighting on one side or another for centuries to protect humanity from massive threats it is largely unaware of.

At the same time new recruit Nile (Kiki Layne) joins the team they take on a job that winds up potentially exposing their existence to the world as a whole. That leads mysterious forces to seek them out in the hopes of harnessing their immortal abilities for profit, something Andy and the others are keen to avoid.

Netflix has been selling the film, written by Greg Rucka (who also wrote the original graphic novel) and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, as a less violent and more interesting option than its recent uber-graphic Extraction. Reviews so far have been largely positive but it sports only a 67 percent “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Posters

Andy, her team and other supporting characters are arranged on the poster, released in mid-May (by marketing agency BOND), around a symbol or insignia that likely has significant meaning within the context of the story. The tagline “Forever is harder than it looks” hints nicely at the fact that the main characters are immortal while the guns and swords most are brandishing makes it clear they’re involved in some violent business.

A series of character images came out that use the same grey background and offer closeups of Andy, Nile and the others along with their birthdays, some of which go all the way back to BCE. That’s kind of a cool way to show off how old the characters are, adding another bit of information for the audience to latch onto.

The Trailers

The first trailer (3.3 million views on YouTube) came out in mid-May, introducing us to Andy and her team of seemingly immortal mercenaries. They’ve been in the shadows, fighting to protect the world for centuries and have a new recruit being trained. Someone has discovered their existence and is attempting to capture them in hopes of unlocking what makes them so special and profiting off it, something the team is keen to stop from happening. It’s a solid action flick being sold, with just enough of a mystery to keep things interesting.

Andy is in the midst of recruiting Nile in the second trailer (300,000 views on YouTube), released just last week. Nile meets the rest of the team and is welcomed into the world of immortals. Again we’re shown that they’re now on the radar of Copley, (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who wants to take them apart and see what makes them tick.

Online and Social

Nothing here, just a small amount of support on Netflix’s brand social channels.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

The project was picked up by Netflix in late February, 2019.

One of the movie’s key action sequences was shared in a clip released in June.

Media and Publicity

Theron was interviewed about the movie in May, with her comments appearing along with a number of first-look stills to give audiences a sense of the movie’s style.

Both Layne and Theron were quoted about the movie and their characters in this interview that included another new look at the film.

Topics ranging from the movie to how she and her family were handling quarantine were covered when Theron appeared on “Today” and other shows. Another interview with her allowed her to talk even more about her character and how it fits into the actress’ other recent roles.


It might be hard to separate this from the dozens of other Netflix originals that have played in the science fiction or fantasy worlds, but this looks a cut above most of them. That’s not just due to the cast but also the production value, which appears to be a bit higher than what some others have sported.

The biggest draw here for many will be Theron’s once more stepping into an action role, something she’s been steadily doing and increasingly popular in. She’s turned, over the years, into a reliable action star capable of being both charming and deadly on-screen. With a concept that is pretty clearly explained in the campaign and lots of mysteries to be answered in the process, this looks like a fun and entertaining ride for people to check out.

Picking Up The Spare

Editor Terilyn Shropshire talks about collaborating with Prince-Bythewood and crafting the movie’s rhythm. Shropshire was also part of this joint interview with Prince-Bythewood. 

Theron was featured on the cover of EW in a photo shoot she produced herself in quarantine. In another interview she commented on how she’s carved out her own path in Hollywood without worrying about franchises and other things. 

How Layne trained for the action sequences in the film was covered in an interview with the actress. She also talked about how many black female heroes there are, even if there aren’t many in most media. 

Ejiofor commented on how he prepped for the role and what he thought of the story. 

A couple new featurettes have come out, one that focused on the translation fo the story from comics to film and one on the combat training the actors underwent. Another dove into the history of the characters while another talked about creating the immortals on screen. 

Prince-Bythewood got a substantial profile on her status as the first black female director to helm a major comic book adaptation. Further interviews with Layne on her own and Layne with Theron together talked more about various topics. 

Lots more interviews with Prince-Bythewood where she talked about casting Layne, what ideas there are for a sequel, how she avoided the over-played female catfight, what circumstances led to her having conversations with Skydance and the similarities between shooting action and love scenes. 

Theron appeared remotely on “The Tonight Show” to talk about the movie as well as the social issues she’s actively involved with. She later shared some funny stories on “Late Night” while Layne made an appearance on that show a bit later. 

Additional featurettes shared interesting facts (and one lie) about the historical details in the movie, had the cast and crew talking about the story, the challenges of the characters’ immortality

The topic of a sequel as well as the movie’s immediate popularity were covered by Theron in this interview. Priince-Bythewood got another profile where she talked about how she’s created her own career. 

It later came out that the movie’s post-production team was made up of up to 85 percent women, an unusually high number for most films.

More from Prince-Blythewood here about the importance of a compelling story amidst all the action. 

If Beale Street Could Talk – Marketing Recap

Recapping Annapurna’s marketing campaign for If Beale Street Could Talk from director Barry Jenkins.

if beale street could talk poster 2Based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is the new movie from writer/director Barry Jenkins. Set in early-1970s Harlem, the story focuses on Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephen James) , a couple that’s madly in love.

Tish becomes pregnant about the same time Fonny is sent to prison on charges he raped a woman. Desperate to prove his innocence and get him back and work to get a lawyer for him. Through all this it’s the power of her love for Fonny that pushes Tish forward, never losing hope that they will be together.

The movie goes wide this week with after enjoying success in limited release for the last couple weeks.

The Posters

if beale street could talkTish and Alfonzo are sharing an intimate moment on the first poster, a nice fading red and blue filter from top to bottom. Baldwin’s name is called out, as is Jenkins’. Copy at the bottom encourages us to “Trust love all the way.”

That same tagline is used on the second poster along with many of the other elements from the first one. Tish and Alfonzo are also still looking into each other’s eyes but this time you can see more of the neighborhood street in the background.

The Trailers

The first teaser was released on James Baldwin’s birthday and while it didn’t show much in the way of a linear story, it was clear about the tone of the movie and the theme of family, community and identity. We get the connection between Tish and Alfonzo and how deeply they’re in love, as well as the bond between Tish and her mother. This was an incredibly powerful first effort and sold the idea that Jenkins was not slouching in his sophomore effort.

There are elements of social justice, moral righteousness, class division and much more on display in the second trailer, but at its core it’s selling a movie about love. Tish and Alfonzo are in love with each other and each loves the baby she’s carrying, just as they ask their sometimes-disapproving family to love it and them. Swooping crane shots, well-framed images of inequality and more are all on display here, presenting a movie that’s timely and timeless, grand in scope but personal in focus.

A final short trailer encourages Tish to “trust love all the way” as we see the basic outlines of the story and the romance that drives the characters to make the choices they do.

Online and Social

Annapurna’s official website for the movie offers the trailer as well as a “Lookbook” that features background information on Baldwin, Jenkins and the rest of the cast with quotes and photos from and of everyone involved. The “Acclaim” section has quotes from some of the early reviews of the movie while “Save the Date” lets you add the movie to the calendar of your choice so you remember to buy tickets. There are also links to the official profiles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

A condensed version of the trailer was used on Twitter in late November as a Promoted Post. A later sponsored post focused on King’s performance, calling out the recent nominations it had scored.

Media and Publicity

The first news of the movie came when it was announced the adaptation would be Jenkins’ follow-up to his critically-acclaimed Moonlight. The movie was announced as one of those screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, with first look stills released around the same time. It also made the list for the New York Film Festival.

The U.S. premiere, though, was scheduled for the Apollo Theater in New York in October. That’s a nice placement since that’s Jenkins’ home turf.

A profile of Layne pegged her as the “rookie of the year,” saying her performance in this movie would catapult her to the big time. Another one also pegged her as the breakout star of the film.

While in Toronto, Jenkins spoke about how the movie’s story resonates today though it’s set in the past as well as how he wrote it as a companion piece of sorts to Moonlight. He also shared the advice he received in the wake of that movie’s success, what kind of offers he did and didn’t get and more. There was more from Jenkins offered during the Q&A following the film’s screening and a later interview had him revealing the role actor Jake Gyllenhaal played in securing the rights to the book.

Jenkins was honored at PEN America LitFest Gala. During an NYFF session, Jenkins spoke about how his approach to the story was informed greatly by the unique access he was given to Baldwin’s notes on the book and other background material.

A brief interview with Diego Luna had the actor talking about how he modeled his character after Jenkins himself. Colman was interviewed about his role and what the production was like a bit later on.

The Gotham Awards nominated the film in multiple categories, giving it a boost going into awards season.

The audience was introduced to the work of James Baldwin in a featurette from late November that had Jenkins and others speaking about the legacy of the author and the books he wrote, specifically the one the movie is based on. Another from a few weeks later had Jenkins focusing on how Baldwin used Beale Street as a blank canvas for anywhere in America.

More interviews with Jenkins followed in late November, many of which focused on the need to tell more stories about a broader range of black characters and people than have been historically produced, what other black-penned novels may be ripe for adaptation and what black authors people should dig deeper into.

King spoke about her career as well as her role in the film and how it’s been received so far while Jenkins continued to speak about his favorite moment in the movie and the burden of doing justice to Baldwin’s legacy.

The first clip offered an extended look at the scene where Tish announces to the rest of her family that she’s pregnant. A later clip, released after the movie was already in some theaters, showed an emotional confrontation about the baby.

The movie’s Golden Globes nominations allowed Jenkins to speak some more about the themes of the movie and how relevant and important it is. He was also interviewed about how the movie represents the culmination of his obsession with and devotion to Baldwin and his attempt to get the voice of the story right.

Annapurna shared the highlights of a cast Q&A that accompanied a recent screening of the movie. After that an interview with King had her talking about the movie and Jenkins talking about working with her. She also appeared on “The Tonight Show” to talk about this and other upcoming projects.

The movie was added to many critics’ end-of-year best-of lists while different members of the cast continued to heralded as breakout stars of the year, all of which added to the movie’s cache and buzz.

Jenkins was interviewed on “CBS This Morning” about the empathy he felt was at the heart of Baldwin’s story. He also called out how he keeps casting his movies with talented young actors from Chicago’s DePaul University while also touching on some of the other regular themes.

There were also profiles of Layne that focused on how rare it is for a black actress to play a straightforward romantic lead and interviews with Henry about the story and characters. The scarcity of romantic roles for black actors was also mentioned by Domingo. Jenkins made even more media appearances on “The Late Show” while James did “Late Night.”


You have to love how Jenkins is selling this as a passion project of the first degree from beginning to end. Unlike many other projects to which that label is affixed this time it’s not just about something the creator found clever or interesting at some point but an essential story he felt needed to be brought to a wider audience.

It’s his personality, bolstered by the acclaim he’s received in the wake of Moonlight, that’s at the forefront of the campaign. Every time Jenkins was interviewed about the influence Baldwin had on him it’s his commitment to the author’s message that comes through most clearly. Not only that but, like many of the best leaders, he keeps pushing the spotlight onto the others involved, namely the talented cast.

The late focus in the publicity on how love stories featuring all-black casts is similar to how movies like Crazy Rich Asians was covered and achieves the same end, calling out how bad Hollywood has been on creating inclusive stories. At some point this will hopefully be so common it’s no longer worth mentioning.

Picking Up the Spare

Another interview with the whole cast of the movie about their history with Baldwin’s work and filming with Jenkins.

Henry appeared on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie, as did James and King.