He was Reggie Hammond, Axel Foley, the Klump family, John Dolittle and most recently Donkey. Yes, this is all Eddie Murphy, the man that once had Hollywood at his feet, now an actor followed by bad luck mainly thanks to the often questionable projects he picks, the last of which is A Thousand Words, now in theaters.
With a current unadjusted for inflation lifetime gross total of over $3.7 billion in box office receipts just in North America, Eddie Murphy is one of the most successful actors of all time. Today we’ll look at his top 10 biggest box office hits in North America, adjusted for inflation.
10. Trading Places (1983) $224.7 million ($90.4M) – We have good old much less annoying Eddie Murphy here in one of his best comedies of the 80’s. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the actor or not, Trading Places is simply a great film.
9. The Nutty Professor (1996) $228.1 million ($128.8M) – A Remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis classic, The Nutty Professor has Eddie Murphy play no less than 7 characters, something that we would see more from him in the future. While extremely stupid and juvenile most of the time, this film has a heart and I found myself enjoying The Nutty Professor for what it was, a mindless fun comedy where Eddie Murphy goes all out. There was a very bad sequel released in 2000, not worth your time.
8. Shrek Forever After (2010) $235.1 million ($238.7M) – A fitting end to a series that had its share of ups and downs. After the abysmal 3rd entry (that unfortunately is found higher on this list), Shrek Forever After plays it safe with its “what if?” parallel universe story. Shrek and Donkey, you will be missed.
7. Doctor Dolittle (1998) $240.6 million ($144.1M) – This new take on the popular children series of Doctor Dolittle books was an instant hit but not what you’d call a good movie, at least not on the same level as the 1967 Doctor Dolittle starring Rex Harrison. But hey, compared to some of his more recent films, Doctor Dolittle is a masterpiece. There was a sequel in 2001, not as popular though.
6. Coming to America (1988) $244.1 million ($128.1M) – Good memories regarding this film, saw it many times while growing up. Basically Eddie Murphy plays an African prince that runs from home to America, particularly Queens, New York, to find a real wife, not one chosen by his family. It’s a great comedy; definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
5. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) $307.7 million ($153.6M) – After the success of the original, there was no way Hollywood would shy away from the opportunity to make a sequel. So three years later we got Beverly Hills Cop II. Like before, Axel Foley has a new case to crack in this action comedy that is worth your time if you’re a fan of the original. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about Beverly Hills Cop III.
4. Shrek the Third (2007) $367.2 million ($322.7M) – Coming after Shrek 2, my expectations were certainly high when it came to this film and boy was I disappointed. Shrek the Third is just bad, a chapter best forgotten in the Shrek series.
3. Shrek (2001) $370.2 million ($267.6M) – The first in what would become the most successful big screen animated series of all time. Shrek took a simple idea and made it its own, poking fun at the fairytale genre along the way. It was amazing looking, a lot of fun, and while the series might have degraded over time, the original is still a must see.
2. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) $525.7 million ($234.7M) – It’s a bit mind boggling just how popular Beverly Hills Cop was back when it came out. While it’s ultimately a great action comedy, there was nothing here to suggest this level of success could be achieved. Unfortunately the subsequent sequels got worse and worse. Eddie Murphy has been juggling the idea of another Beverly Hills Cop for some time now and if it eventually does happen, I’ll be happy to see Axel Foley back.
1. Shrek 2 (2004) $556.3 million ($441.2M) – My favorite in the series and it seems also the most popular, Shrek 2 manage to take what was great about the first one and expand from there without falling in the carbon copy category. Bottom line, Shrek 2 is a great animation for all ages.
Besides this more successful film, Eddie Murphy has more than a few other greats, movies like 48 Hrs., Bowfinger (one of my favorites) and Dreamgirls (Oscar nomination for the actor). Obviously there are many others but those three are just off the top of my head.
So what is your favorite Eddie Murphy film?