All Eyez on Me (film)
All Eyez on Me is a 2017 American biographical drama film about rapper Tupac Shakur, directed by Benny Boom and written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian. Titled after Shakur's 1996 fourth studio album, the film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur with Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper and Danai Gurira in supporting roles.
|All Eyez on Me|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Benny Boom|
|Music by||John Paesano|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Edited by||Joel Cox|
|Distributed by||Summit Entertainment|
|Box office||$55.5 million|
Talks of a Tupac biopic began in 2011 by Morgan Creek Entertainment Group. The film languished in development hell for several years with various directors, including Antoine Fuqua and John Singleton, attached at different points before Boom was confirmed in November 2015. That December, Shipp Jr., whose father worked on music videos with Shakur, was cast as the singer and principal photography began that month. It lasted until April 2016, filming in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
All Eyez on Me premiered on June 14, 2017 at the Fox Bruin Theater and was released in the United States on June 16, 2017, on what would have been Shakur's 46th birthday. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, but a more positive response from audiences, and grossed $55 million worldwide.
At the Clinton Correctional Facility in 1995, a documentary filmmaker arrives to interview Tupac Shakur. In flashback to 1971, Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur and other Black Panther Party members are released from prison following acquittal. From an early age, Tupac, instilled with black pride, witnesses multiple injustices in his neighborhood. His stepfather, Mutulu, a revolutionary, is caught by the FBI for an armored-truck robbery and murder. As Tupac gets older, he distances himself from his mother's revolutionary ideals. He attends the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he becomes friends with Jada Pinkett.
Tupac's music career begins when he joins Digital Underground for their hit "Same Song". Under manager Leila Steinberg, he begins to have hip-hop albums produced. Although his music becomes popular, some songs' controversial lyrics cause tensions between him and his record producers. Tupac begins acting in movies such as Juice, as well as collaborating with performers including Biggie Smalls. He generates both praise and controversy.
Tupac finds himself beaten by police officers over jaywalking. Another time, after he and E.D.I. Mean, a member of 2Pac's group called, "Outlaws" intervene when two white off-duty officers men assault a black man, Tupac is arrested for shooting at the cops. Tupac develops a contentious relationship with drug dealer and music partner Nigel. In 1993, Tupac goes on trial for rape and harassment charges. On November 30, 1994, he is attacked by three men in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios, is shot five times before the men flee, and is hospitalized. The following day, Tupac is found not guilty of rape, but found guilty of illegal touching, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison.
While in prison, Tupac hears Biggie's song "Who Shot Ya?", and interprets it as a diss track bragging about Biggie's alleged involvement in his shooting. Tupac, who is assaulted by two guards while in prison, eventually is released and signs to Death Row Records under Suge Knight. Tupac and label-mate Dr. Dre work on the hit song "California Love". He releases the track "Hit Em Up" as a response to "Who Shot Ya?" in which Tupac brags about supposedly having an affair with Biggie's wife Faith Evans. Tupac parts ways with Death Row to launch his own company. Later, Suge offers Tupac a chance to become partners, and Tupac agrees to head Death Row's East Coast operations.
On September 7, 1996, Tupac, Suge, and others are leaving the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. They confront the gang member who had jumped a friend, and Tupac knocks him to the ground, leading to a brawl. Tupac stops by his hotel to change clothes, and tells Kidada he will return in an hour. With Suge in his car, Tupac is at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane when a Cadillac pulls alongside Tupac's BMW and shoots Tupac multiple times before fleeing the scene. Onscreen text states that Tupac died six days later at age 25. His murder remains unsolved.
- Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac Shakur
- Danai Gurira as Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, a political activist and member of the Black Panther Party.
- Lauren Cohan as Leila Steinberg, Tupac’s mentor.
- Jamie Hector as Mutulu Shakur, Tupac’s stepfather.
- Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones, engaged to Tupac at the time of his death.
- Jamal Woolard as The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac’s friend turned rival.
- Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett, a friend of Tupac from the Baltimore School for the Arts.
- Dominic L. Santana as Suge Knight, the founder and CEO of Death Row Records.
- Grace Gibson as Faith Evans, Biggie Smalls’s wife and singer.
- Lian Amado as Angie Martinez, radio personality, rapper, and actress.
- Stefon Washington as Puff Daddy
- Chris Clarke as Shock G, the lead vocalist for the hip hop group Digital Underground.
- Money-B as himself, member of Digital Underground.
- Clifton Powell as Floyd, inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility.
- Johnell Young as Ray Luv, Tupac’s friend.
- Jermel Howard as Mopreme Shakur
- Azad Arnaud as Daz Dillinger
- Jarrett Ellis as Snoop Dogg
- Keith Robinson as Atron Gregory, TNT Records founder.
- Rayan Lawrence as Treach
- James Hatter III as Yaki Kadafi
- Jermaine Carter as Hussein Fatal
- E.D.I. Mean as himself
- Young Noble as himself
- DeRay Davis as Legs
- Harold House Moore as Dr. Dre
- Hill Harper as journalist
- Cory Hardrict as Nigel aka Haitian Jack
- Phil Armijo as Johnny "J"
- Deshawn Wayne as Frank Alexander
- E. Roger Mitchell as attorney
On February 10, 2011, it was announced that Morgan Creek Productions was developing, and would finance and produce, Tupac, a biographical film about rap legend Tupac Shakur, which would follow his entire life, from growing up in East Harlem to becoming a legendary songwriter and hip-hop artist, to his death in Las Vegas at the age of 25. Antoine Fuqua was attached as the director of the film, and the script was written by Steven Bagatourian, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson. James G. Robinson and David C. Robinson were set to produce the film, along with Program Pictures' L.T. Hutton, and Tupac's mother Afeni Shakur was set as executive producer, with production initially scheduled to begin that summer. On September 19, 2013, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films came on board to co-finance and co-produce the $45 million-budgeted film, along with Morgan Creek. On February 12, 2014, John Singleton signed on to rewrite, direct and produce the film, and on April 16, 2014, Open Road Films acquired the United States distribution rights. Ed Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, and Singleton wrote the then-latest draft of the script. On April 7, 2015, it was revealed that Singleton had exited the film due to major creative differences, while Carl Franklin was being eyed to direct instead. On October 28, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Emmett/Furla/Oasis had sued Morgan Creek over $10 million for breaking the companies' co-production agreement, signed in September 2013. In the agreement, terms included not raising the production budget above $30 million, mutual approval for the lead actor's selection, a filming schedule, and agreements on distribution and sales. Randall Emmett and George Furla also stated that they had all first signed a distribution deal with Open Road, which Morgan Creek rejected, and that Morgan Creek had inked a new deal with Open Road without mutual approval.
On November 30, 2015, it was reported that music director Benny Boom would direct the film, replacing Franklin. In early December 2015, the film's title was confirmed to be All Eyez On Me. Newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. was set to play Tupac. Jamal Woolard joined the film to play The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac's friend turned rival, reprising his starring role in the 2009 film Notorious. On January 11, 2016, Danai Gurira was added to the film's cast to play Tupac's mother Afeni Shakur, a political activist and member of the Black Panther Party. Variety reported the next day that Kat Graham had signed on to play Jada Pinkett, a friend of Tupac from the Baltimore School for the Arts. It was later revealed that Dominic L. Santana had been cast as record producer Suge Knight.
On January 13, Jamie Hector signed on to play Mutulu Shakur, Tupac's stepfather. On January 15, Lauren Cohan joined the cast to play Leila Steinberg, a key figure in Tupac's life, as his mentor. Money B appeared in the film as himself, Tupac's coworker at Digital Underground, while Clifton Powell was cast as Floyd, an inmate at the Clinton Correctional Facility, and Johnell Young as Tupac's close friend Ray Luv. On January 19, TheWrap reported that Grace Gibson had been cast to play Biggie Smalls' wife, Faith Evans, and on January 22, 2016, Keith Robinson was cast as Atron Gregory, a TNT Records founder, who first helped Tupac become a dancer and a solo artist. Annie Ilonzeh was added to the cast in February 2016 to play Kidada Jones, who was engaged to Tupac at the time of his death.
On June 16, 2016, on what would have been Shakur's 45th birthday, a teaser trailer for the film was released, and a second trailer premiered on September 13, 2016, the 20th anniversary of Shakur's death. The film's release date was set as June 16, 2017. On February 10, 2017, a third teaser trailer was released, confirming Summit, Morgan Creek, Program Pictures, and Codeblack Films as producers and distributors. On April 6, 2017, a fourth trailer was released.
No official soundtrack album was released to accompany the film.
All Eyez on Me grossed $44.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $10.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $55.5 million, against a production budget of $40 million.
In North America, All Eyez on Me was released on June 16, 2017, alongside Rough Night, 47 Meters Down and Cars 3, and was projected to gross $17–20 million from 2,471 theatres in its opening weekend. It took in $12.8 million on Friday (including $3.1 million from Thursday night previews), increasing weekend estimates to $31 million. It ended up debuting to $26.4 million, finishing 3rd at the box office, behind Cars 3 ($53.7 million) and Wonder Woman ($41.3 million). Deadline Hollywood attributed the film's success to the release corresponding with Tupac's birthday, as well as to audience interest in the subject matter, following the success of rap biopic Straight Outta Compton in 2015; 47% of the opening weekend audience was black, 25% Hispanic, and 19% white.
Despite its opening weekend success, the film declined 78% to $5.8 million in its second weekend, the 16th largest such decline in history. In its third weekend, the film, which had dropped down to 1,258 theatres, declined another 68.6% to $1.8 million, finishing 11th at the box office.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 18% based on 88 reviews, with an average rating of 4.32/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Despite Demetrius Shipp Jr.'s fine lead performance, All Eyez on Me is mostly a surface-skimming, by-the-numbers biopic of a larger-than-life icon." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a weighted average score of 38 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, and PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 82% overall positive score.
Glenn Kenny of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, saying: "Almost all the dialogue is that flat-footed. It’s a stark contrast to the almost always vivid power of Shakur’s own words, which could be profoundly empathetic and pettily profane." Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "Comprehensive but sketchy, richly atmospheric but often under-dramatized, it is not, in the end, a very good movie (there are a few scenes, like Tupac’s initial meeting with Ted Field of Interscope Records, that are embarrassingly bad). Yet it’s highly worth seeing because in its volatility and hunger, and the desperation of its violence, it captures something about the space in which Tupac Shakur lived: a place that wanted to be all about pride and power, but was really about flying over the abyss."
On her Twitter account, Jada Pinkett Smith stated that the film contained inaccuracies about her relationship with Tupac, and why he left for Los Angeles. Smith specified that Tupac never read the poem he read to her character in the film, and that she had no knowledge that it even existed until it was published in his book. She also stated that she never attended one of Tupac's shows at his request, and that there was no backstage argument. She did, however, praise the performances of Shipp and Graham. Both Sean Combs and Suge Knight gave blessings to the film, praising their respective portrayals.
In June 2017, shortly after All Eyez on Me was released journalist Kevin Powell filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the filmmakers. In the complaint Powell alleged that the film was derived from several articles that Powell wrote for Vibe Magazine in the 1990s. While events from Tupac's life are in the public domain, Powell claimed to have "changed or embellished" portions of his articles. One of the claims made by Powell in the lawsuit was that he had invented the character of Nigel.
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