Coming to America

coming to america

the pitches

Title: coming to america: a king to be
Directed by: judd apatow
Starring: eddie murphy, arsenio hall, donald glover, shari headley, john amos, james earl jones

After his father’s abdication from the throne, Akeem has taken his place as King of the great land of Zamunda. Years into his reign, however, Zamunda has suffered a cultural rift, the people embracing western culture, while condemning the lavish lifestyle of their royal rulers.

The unintentional instigator of the class struggles is none other than Cleo McDowell and his chain of fast food restaurants littering the neighborhoods of the Zamundan people.

Torn between her family and her place at her King’s side, Queen Lisa’s happiness is slipping away. With their relationship visibly strained, Akeem considers resigning as King to save his marriage, but his people are in desperate need of unification. Zamunda’s other leaders lean too far in each political direction to be a suitable replacement for Akeem, and he and Lisa never had children, so there are no heirs to the Zamunda throne, at least none that Akeem knows about.

With a small cameo from JEJ, the former king lets his son know that he may have a long-lost brother or two that could step into his place, only he doesn’t know where they are. The mothers, sworn to secrecy over the King’s infidelities, sent their half-royal children to lands far away from Zamunda.

Now, with help from his trusted advisor Semmi, Akeem must travel all over America to track down his many brothers and sisters, grooming one to unite Zamunda’s citizens in harmony as the first American/Zamundan King.

After meeting several Joffer siblings, all of whom are miserably underqualified, Akeem finds Malcolm, a kind and patient history teacher at an underfunded inner-city high school. He spends his days and nights helping troubled students, keeping the peace between the various cliques and racially diverse cultures in the wild hallways of his school and his own neighborhood.

When he hears Akeem’s story, learning his own origins, along with Akeem’s plans to find a new King of Zamunda, Malcolm, (played by Donald Glover), struggles to first believe his newfound brother, then come to terms with what might be his chance to make a huge difference in the history of an entire country.


The American McDowells restaurants were shut down in America. Patrice McDowell betrayed the family by becoming a big executive at McDonald’s, only to surprise everyone at the end by revealing she had only intended on stealing all McDonald’s proprietary secrets with hopes of reviving McDowell’s in their home country. When she rejoins her family in Zamunda, however, they decide to take a new direction. They open a high class restaurant chain called ‘Queen Lisa’s’ and capitalize on their royal daughter’s status.

Semmi never settled down with anyone, and has reached an age where he genuinely wants someone to be with in his later years. A private guide who accompanies Akeem and Semmi on their American travels falls in love with Semmi’s, (despite rocky beginnings) and the two end up together by the movie’s end.

Picture of Chris Sully

Chris Sully

Title: coming 2 america: city of angels
Directed by: mike judge
Starring: eddie murphy, arsenio hall, john david washington, zendaya, samuel l. jackson, eric lasalle

32 years in the future we return to Zamunda to find King Akeem and his Queen Lisa. Things in the land have changed drastically and their time of prosperity and wealth have come to an end. After visiting New York in 1988, they agreed that it wasn’t best for Zamunda to adopt any of the outside influence that that the rest of the world might have to “offer” their country, but with the changes to their own country it was time to make some decisions.

Akeem and his trusty sidekick Semmi decide to return to America with their children (Akeem’s
Son – played by John David Washington & Semmi’s Daughter – played by Zendaya) to find some possible business opportunities and see what ideas the can glean from America, which has changed drastically since their last visit. Since the first trip was decided by a coin flip (and ultimately worked pretty well), they decide to do the same again, and land on the City of Angels (Los Angles) as their destination.

Their journey takes them through iconic Los Angeles landmarks and lands meetings with several large companies to discuss opportunities that might bring more money back into Zamunda, including:

  • A meeting at one company, where SoulGlo is seen on the directory, but clearly crossed
    out or letters taken down, since the business most likely failed years ago.
  • A meeting with the head of a film company, played by Samuel L. Jackson, in which Akeem and Semmi comment that he looks VERY FAMILIAR. As indicated by the posters in their lobby, all of their films focus on bank heists and robberies. **We never know if it was the same guy that held up the McDowell’s
  • A meeting with a large real estate company, headed up by actor Frankie Faison (the
    landlord from their building in New York)
  • Finally, a meeting with one Louis Winthorpe III (one of the featured characters of Trading Places, played by Dan Akroyd), who has turned his luck into even larger fortunes and moved his new business to L.A.

Louis and Akeem have almost come to an understanding when another group enters the picture, offering an even better deal to Zamunda, but (as the audience can see) has a different plan in mind – to take advantage of their trust and take over the country for their own benefit.

Akeem and Semmi’s children (who are in their 20’s) help piece together the plan of this new group, Duke Industries (run by the heirs of Mortimer and Randolph Duke) and eventually convince Akeem and Semmi that the deal is not in their best interest. Ironically, as only the audience would really understand, it was Akeem’s kindness in the first movie that led to the success of Duke Industries, which wouldn’t have even existed if Mortimer and Randolph had passed before getting that McDowell’s bag full of cash).

Eventually, Akeem and Semmi return to Zamunda with a deal in place that will help the country flourish once again, but their children decide to stay in Los Angeles to help run the business dealings from the U.S. end of the deal…. The opening for a Part III in the franchise.

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