Franchise Evolution: Beverly Hills Cop (part 1 of 3)

The Beverly Hills Cop series is, in a way, a perfect way to chart the career of Eddie Murphy. From 1981 to 1988, Murphy was the undisputed funniest man in America. Anything and everything he touched turned to gold (with some exceptions), and really, the only true competition he ever had during this period was Bill Murray.

Granted, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and some of the guys from SCTV did quality stuff during this period, but to be frank, most of them were at their best when they had someone to play off of. Eddie Murphy could fly solo and have them rolling in the aisles.

Franchise Evolution: Beverly Hills Cop (part 1 of 3)

In 1984, fresh off the success of 48 Hrs. and Trading Places, and still the hot thing on SNL, he came out with maybe his finest cinematic achievement: Beverly Hills Cop.

Produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, it was a massive success, becoming the surprise hit of 1984, taking a grand total of just under $235 million domestically. Murphy would follow this up with the cheesily entertaining The Golden Child and, of course, the inevitable sequel.

Beverly Hills Cop II is more or less the same movie, only with the volume pumped up, and more of an emphasis on action. It’s actually not that bad, but it’s certainly a step down from the original, to an extent.

Franchise Evolution: Beverly Hills Cop (part 1 of 3)

The sequel took in a little over $153 million in 1987, and outside of Coming to America the next year, this would be the last successful Murphy film (both financially and artistically) for quite a while.

In the middle of his box office drought, Murphy would re-team with John Landis, with whom he found great success in Trading Places and Coming to America, for the third installment in the series.

Franchise Evolution: Beverly Hills Cop (part 1 of 3)

Taking in a little over $40 million, it’s one of the most disappointing films on his résumé. Seriously, it’s the sort of movie that will just depress the shit out of you if you happen to come across it at the wrong time. Norbit may be an unfunny mess, but to be frank, I sort of doubt anyone with a last name other than Murphy was giving that the thumbs up. Beverly Hills Cop III has no such excuse, but we’ll get to that later.

For now, let’s focus on the good stuff.

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Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Franchise Evolution: Beverly Hills Cop
Tag: Franchise Evolution

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  • Sand Ripper

    I know everyone loved it, but I never saw what the big deal was about the first movie. It was merely okay to me, and that’s coming from someone who has always liked Eddie Murphy.

    The second one? I remember watching it, but remember nothing about it.

    And the only reason I remember the third one is because our local cinema ran a sneak preview of Speed after a showing of BHC III. Now there’s a good 1990s action movie. ;)

  • Sofie Liv

    I honestly only found the first movie to be amusing.
    I know so many people praises the hell out of it.. I know so many people praises Murphy from twenty years ago as if he had been a demi god now tragically fallen from the sky.
    I just don’t get it! I thought he was a fine comedian, but fine is all I have to say about him.

    Then I skipped second and third movie as I heard so many bad things about them…

  • Bronson Pinchot has a very sad story about “Beverly Hills Cop III”:

    “That was a lifetime later. “Beverly Hills Cop” opened up a whole world. I got the television show and movies, and I would go sign autographs for one hour and get paid $25,000. I had bodyguards and police barricades, and I had that whole life from 1985 to about 1992, ’93. Eddie was going through his period at the time of doing movies that were not hits, and he was very low-spirited, low-energy. I said to him, “All anyone ever wants to know when they meet me is what you’re like.” And he said, “I bet they don’t ask that anymore.” And then when we did a scene, we were shooting, and he was so low-energy that John Landis sent him upstairs and said, “Just rest, Eddie, and I’ll do the scene with Bronson.” So whenever you see my face in the movie, I’m not really talking to Eddie, I’m talking to John Landis. And I can understand it—he was just having a bad stretch. And that stretch lasted… When did “Dr. Dolittle” come out? I think his funk really did last until then. I don’t know what started the funk, but it lasted a chunk of time, and that was in the belly of the funk, and he was just really sad and low-energy and I basically did the scene without him there.”

    There’s a lot more interesting, very candid stuff that he says in this interview with The A.V. Club; you should check it out:,34310/

  • Actually Murphy’s career has gone back up a bit after Tower Heist, you can’t really count A Thousand Wrods since that movie was completed way back in 2008.

    • Ed

      True. Tower Heist wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

  • Social Crime Radio

    This movie got revenge on George Lucas for the coming Star Wars prequels .