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

What Men Want – Marketing Recap

what men want poster 2In the current cultural mood there’s a movement to “cancel” terrible men who have a history of abuse and other awful behavior. One of those often targeted is Mel Gibson, who ever really apologized for that anti-Semitic rant he went on, instead just lying low for a while before mounting a comeback a couple years ago.

One way of doing that, it seems, is remaking his movies starring women of color. That’s basically what’s happening with this week’s What Men Want, a loose remake of Gibson’s What Women Want. In this version Taraji P. Henson stars as Ali Davis, a sports agent who is having trouble getting ahead in her male-dominated company.

After drinking some whacked-out tea and hitting her head, Ali develops the ability to read men’s thoughts. She uses that to anticipate their actions and position herself accordingly, working against their weaknesses and getting out ahead of challenges. She finds there are downsides to what she can do, though, even if the results are hilarious.

The Posters

what men want posterAli is front and center, standing amidst a crowd of people and holding a pair of baseballs in her hand to symbolize…yeah. That she can read men’s minds is stated at the top, but the overall design is pretty boring and not all that funny at all which is a shame.

The same tagline – “She can hear men’s thoughts. Let the games begin” – is used on the second poster, which just features Henson and costar Tracy Morgan standing next to each other against a blank blue background. It’s even more uninspired than the first one, which is impressive.

The Trailers

The first trailer is exactly what you would expect it to be. We see Ali as she’s passed over for a promotion at work for vague and clearly sexist reasons. When her friends convince her to see a psychic and she has an accident she develops the ability to read men’s’ thoughts, an ability she puts to use to gain the advantage she needs to finally get ahead.

A red-band trailer from late November offered many of the same beats, just with a few additional curse words and the freedom to explain all the ingredients in the tea Ali drinks. She’s also shown to be unrepentantly sexual, using her new abilities to figure out what men are really thinking about during sex and more.

Online and Social

The website just has the trailer, a synopsis, ticket-buying prompts and links to official social media profiles. So nothing much and certainly not anything all that engaging.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I’m not sure if this was a TV spot but a minute-long “Rules” video played like one, showing audiences the basic premise while offering more information on the movie’s website.

Media and Publicity

A “Special Look” released last month offered an extended clip focused on Ali using her mind-reading skills to make sure she and a partner have a good time in bed. Another clip featured Ali in the car with her assistant and realizing what she can do.

Henson hosted a red carpet event in Atlanta while the director and producer shared what happened when they took the movie on the road to select screenings across the country. Henson also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as part of the publicity for the movie.

A brief interview with the star allowed her to talk about this movie as well as some other projects she’s involved in. She later appeared on “The Late Show” to talk up the film.

Others from the cast, including Morgan and costar Max Greenfield, also did a bit of publicity while some stories focused on the way the movie takes on gender inequality, something that’s only hinted at in the trailers.


There are some interesting choices in the campaign, including how it sometimes loses focus on Henson’s Ali in favor of the men around her. That makes some amount of sense, but there’s also no attempt to show much of Ali’s overall arc and what happens as a result of the abilities she gains beyond the overtly comedic.

It would have been a much more engaging campaign if it had shown it tackles more substantively issues like gender or racial inequality. Henson is so funny but also such a wonderful actor that the campaign wouldn’t have lost anything if it had been more overtly socially relevant.

Picking Up the Spare

Another TV appearance by Henson, this time on “The Late Show.”