The Eddie Murphy revival continues gathering strength, as Netflix has made a big-money play to acquire the planned Beverly Hills Cop 4 from Paramount. The studio had been working on developing the film for several years, but the film will now be produced by Netflix (under producer Jerry Bruckheimer), with an option for a sequel. It also deepens the burgeoning relationship between the world’s biggest streamer and star Murphy, who just appeared in the critically acclaimed Dolemite is My Name as Rudy Ray Moore, earning himself unexpected awards buzz in the process. Likewise, Netflix is still in the process of offering the former stand-up star an insane amount of money to return to the stand-up stage for a live special. One would think that making Beverly Hills Cop 4 would make the stand-up return even more likely.
The original Beverly Hills Cop, directed by Martin Brest, was a smash hit in 1984 and introduced the world to one of Murphy’s most iconic characters, street-wise Detroit cop Axel Foley, who travels to Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of a friend. Subsequent sequels fell victim to diminishing returns quite quickly, as 1987’s Beverly Hills Copy 2 received a mixed reaction, and John Landis’ third installment in 1994 was utterly savaged by critics and audiences alike. It does make one wonder how much nostalgic value Netflix believes exists in this IP, especially in a film landscape where even well-received franchise films like Terminator: Dark Fate are opening to dismal box office numbers. For what it’s worth, the original Beverly Hills Cop was released the same year as the original Terminator—you have to wonder which IP still has more juice.
Paramount, meanwhile, is still reportedly working on developing a sequel to another one of Murphy’s most beloved characters, Prince Akeem, in a long-planned Coming to America sequel. Murphy, in the process, seems to be going full Stallone on us, seeking to deliver late-career sequels to all of his most famous franchises.
Beverly Hills Cop had long been intended to become a TV series with Murphy, but production never quite got underway. Let’s hope Netflix finds a bit more success in resurrecting the 1980s classic.