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Coming 2 America claims the biggest streaming debut since the pandemic began

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Looks like it was more than just Prince Akeem and Semmi who went back to Queens, New York this weekend past. A whole lot more! That’s the story coming from Amazon Prime Video who claims that Coming 2 America – Eddie Murphy’s relatively likeable 30-years-in-waiting sequel to his 1980s comedy classic which debuted on Prime Video this past Friday, 5 March – had the most-watched opening weekend of any streaming movie in the past 12 months.

That is quite the claim, especially since we have no numbers to back it up. While traditionally studios always released box office numbers, there hasn’t really been a box office since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As entertainment-starved audiences were driven to home VOD releases, reporting on the success of a movie has become a murky business as streamers infamously never let us peek behind the curtain. We’ve just had to take their claims on good faith or rely on third-party services.

It’s one of the latter where this apparent achievement comes from thanks to Screen Engine/ASI’s weekly VOD streaming chart. Like so many of these third-parties, this chart is comprised through online surveys, some set-top tracking, and maybe some black magic. Who knows?

For its part, Prime Video is definitely not disputing the title as Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, responded by saying that “The Zamunda Royal family has arrived and audiences around the globe welcomed them enthusiastically!”

The premiere of Coming 2 America has far exceeded any of our wildest expectations. It’s clear an entire new generation of fans have joined the enormous loyal fanbase who already adored the magical world created by global phenom Eddie Murphy, the incredibly talented filmmaking team and the hilarious, all-star cast of existing and newly-cemented legends. Coming 2 America is the perfectly fun, celebratory, escapist, feel-good comedy movie that worldwide audiences needed.

Salke and co may actually even have some evidence to back it up as the long-awaited film garnered over 12 000 user reviews upon debut. The Prime Video app also rocketed to the top of download charts on mobile app stores. That’s similar to how the Disney+ debut of Hamilton drove up app downloads massively, with Disney eventually reporting a gigantic spike in subscription numbers accordingly.

Locally, here’s more evidence of Coming 2 America’s popularity as South was one of the few countries worldwide where the film also opened theatrically. And reportedly it debuted in the #1 spot and had the biggest theatrical opening thus far of 2021. I say “reportedly” because even our weekly box office report, which we get straight from local distributors, had a note that no box office numbers for Coming 2 America have been made available publicly.

I can sort of understand studios’ reticence to release actual hard numbers during these topsy turvy times as often what is being considered a success now, in light of the film’s industry’s struggles in the face of this pandemic, would more than likely not have even been worth noting over a year ago. But I guess we all need to take all the wins we can.

Last Updated: March 9, 2021

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