After Watching Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, I’m Convinced Netflix Should’ve Given It A Wide Release In Theaters

 Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) gets dropped off at the airport in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.
Credit: Netflix

The 2024 movie schedule marked the return of cinema royalty this past week, as movielovers were graced with the release of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. The long-gestating installment in Eddie Murphy’s iconic film franchise became available to Netflix subscribers on Wednesday and, since then, it’s made quite the impression with users. Not only have critics called the film a “return to form” for Murphy but general audiences have also hyped up the film on the web. As a fan of the series, I checked out the flick as well and really enjoyed it. And, with that, I’m more than convinced that the streamer should’ve given this production a wide theatrical release.

In this entertainment landscape, it’s definitely not uncommon for major movies to head straight to streaming. So some people may not be all that surprised that Axel F was just one of the many productions to be part of Netflix’s 2024 movie schedule. I’d certainly argue that there are a number of films that work exclusively for streaming. However, there are those select few that should play in theaters for a while before hitting a platform. For example, Hit Man was worthy of a longer run in cinemas before hitting the aforementioned streaming service. So what makes this latest installment in the BHC saga also deserving of that distinction? Let’s talk it out and discuss why this was a digital release to begin with.

Why Did Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F Go To Streaming?

Those who are familiar with film properties owned by massive studios probably know that the Eddie Murphy-headed franchise has long been housed under Paramount Pictures. At least, that was the case for the first three installments. So you may be wondering how exactly this one landed on a streaming service. Well, in 2019, it was reported that Paramount reached a licensing deal with Netflix. And, as part of that one-time agreement, the streamer earned the distribution rights to the movie.

What’s also interesting is that Deadline explained that the deal even includes an option for a sequel. So, if a fifth film in the buddy cop series comes to fruition, then it would likely be released on the streamer as well. It’s understandable as to why Ted Sarandos’ massive company would want such a massive IP, and the deal that was struck is paying off. The latest Beverly Hills Cop installment is the No. 1 movie on the platform in the U.S., as of this writing. Despite that, there are still several reasons why this flick was worthy of a major theatrical release.

Why Should Axel F Have Been Released in Theaters?

From a filmmaking standpoint, this legacy sequel is a massive action flick through and through. Yes, it has funny Beverly Hills Cop moments you’d hope for, but it also delivers plenty of thrills. The opening action sequence, which sees Axel Foley zooming through Detroit in a snowplow while chasing criminals is exhilarating. And the same is true of Axel and Bobby Abbott’s helicopter escape later in the film. In short, Mark Malloy’s feature film debut includes a number of set pieces and sequences that would really play well on the big screen.

More on Beverly Hills Cop

Eddie Murphy wears sunglasses and smiles while talking through a car window in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.
Eddie Murphy wears sunglasses and smiles while talking through a car window in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

Netflix's Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. Review: Eddie Murphy’s Legacyquel Comedy Is Way Better Than You'd Expect… While Still Not Being Amazing

There’s another reason that this film should’ve hit cinemas across the globe, and it’s quite obvious: this is a Beverly Hills Cop movie starring Eddie Murphy, for goodness sake! This is the first time Murphy has starred as Axel in 30 years, and such a moment should be marked with a theatrical release. Not only that, but the A-lister is also joined by a number of other franchise alums like Judge Reinhold and John Ashton. The trio of actors are still great in their roles, and there’s one particular scene that made the group feel right at home. Ultimately, they were left “beaming” over it. I’m sure fans would’ve been beaming as well had they been watching that particular moment play out on the big screen.

In fairness, the role out for Axel F has been solid, as Netflix has been promoting the movie, and touting it as a grand return for Eddie Murphy. Still, one can’t help but feel like this would’ve been a perfect movie to play in theaters over a 4th of July weekend. And, in a landscape that just saw Bad Boys: Ride or Die earn big bucks at the box office, I truly believe Murphy’s latest cop comedy would’ve done some sweet business as well. A fifth movie in the franchise has yet to be formally confirmed but, if it happens, let’s hope Axel and co. get their time to shine on the silver screen again.

For now, stream Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F alongside some of the best movies on Netflix. A membership with the streamer will also get you access to the first two installments in the beloved action franchise.