Hollywood Flashback: 30 Years Ago, Eddie Murphy Soared With ‘Boomerang’
The star’s groundbreaking rom-com got lots of laughs while also showing Black men and women succeeding equally in the corporate world.
Eddie Murphy’s first entry in the romantic-comedy genre was Boomerang, released by Paramount Pictures on July 1, 1992 — and which will be reissued on Blu-ray for the first time June 28.
Murphy, who became a top name of the 1980s with franchises like 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop, hatched an idea of himself as a ladies’ man who meets his match. The star then connected with Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, two writers he’d met at Saturday Night Live who worked with him on Coming to America (1988), to pitch a movie in the vein of Alfie and Annie Hall.
Boomerang focused on Marcus (Murphy), an affluent, womanizing advertising exec who has the tables turned on him after he falls hard for his new boss (Robin Givens). Helmed by Reginald Hudlin, who’d made his directorial debut with the 1990 comedy House Party, Boomerang featured a predominantly Black cast, including on-the-rise talents Halle Berry, David Alan Grier, Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock.
Sheffield tells THR that the film’s team wanted to show Black people thriving in the boardroom: “Our characters were professional and wealthy and moving in upper-crust circles.”
The movie had no shortage of laughs, including a memorable scene where John Witherspoon, as Grier’s dad, embarrasses his son over Thanksgiving dinner. “I went home that night with a headache from laughing so hard,” Hudlin recalls.
THR‘s review praised the film as “the long-awaited comic vehicle that finally matches the talents of this gifted comedian,” and it won over audiences too, earning $131.1 million worldwide ($273.1 million today). Part of the film’s legacy is its depiction of Black men and women succeeding equally in the corporate world, which was also explored in BET’s sequel series of the same name that aired from 2019 to 2020.
Says Blaustein: “I’m shocked how many Black women have come up to me and said that this is the first time they saw a Black woman be a successful businesswoman, and it made a big difference in their lives.”