The 1990s was a transitional period for Eddie Murphy. The early 90s saw a decline in the huge success the actor had previously seen in the 1980s. While films like The Nutty Professor experienced box office success, Murphy made the lucrative decision to transition to more “family-friendly” films.
This began with the release of the animated movie Mulan where Murphy voiced the dragon character Mushu. Mulan went on to gross over $120 million in the United States. In September of 2017, Netflix added the film to its streaming services, and as of 2020, Mulan can be found on Hulu, and Disney + (giving Murphy residual earnings). The Nutty Professor also proved to be a turning point in the actor's career.
Recognizing the value of these family-friendly films, Murphy began starring in more. While the transition alienated the people who had originally become fans because of his more explicit content, it didn’t alienate the money from his bank account. Murphy was paid $20 million for his roles in Dr. Dolittle, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and The Nutty Professor II. Because of the success of its predecessor, the actor was able to command twenty percent of The Nutty Professor II. By the end of the 90s, Eddie Murphy was worth close to $100 million.
The 2000s saw a continuation of the career change Eddie Murphy began in the late 90s. Surely nobody could have ever imagined in the 80s and early 90s that one of Murphy’s biggest roles would be the role of a donkey, but that’s exactly what happened in 2001 when the actor kicked off the new decade with Shrek, one of the most successful animated film franchises of all-time. Part of what’s set Murphy apart from his peers is his ability to go against the norm, and the latter part of his career has certainly rewarded him.
Murphy was initially paid $3 million for the first Shrek movie, however, after the film's huge success, the actor was able to command $10 million for the sequel, making him one of the highest-paid voice actors in Hollywood. The Dr. Dolittle sequel released that same year, netted him $20 million, as well as the film The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
In 2006, Murphy went back to his musical roots in the film Dreamgirls. The movie earned over $150 million at the International box office.