All Eyez on Me is a 2017 American biographical drama film about hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, directed by Benny Boom and written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian. Titled after Shakur's 1996 fourth studio album of the same name, the film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur and Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, and Danai Gurira in supporting roles.
Principal photography began in mid-December 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. The film premiered on June 14, 2017 in Los Angeles and was released in the United States on June 16, 2017, on what would have been Shakur's 46th birthday.
The film chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial time at Death Row Records.
On February 10, 2011, it was announced that Morgan Creek Productions had developed and would finance and produce the rap legend Tupac Amaru Shakur's biopic titled Tupac, which would follow his life from growing up to his death. Antoine Fuqua was attached as the director of the film, and the script was from Steven Bagatourian, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson. James G. Robinson and David C. Robinson would produce the film along with Program Pictures' L.T. Hutton, and Tupac's mother Afeni Shakur as executive producer, with production 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. Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft were writing the latest draft of the film. On February 12, 2014, John Singleton again signed on to rewrite, direct and produce the film. On April 16, 2014, Open Road Films acquired the United States distribution rights to the film. Gonzalez, Haft, and Singleton wrote the latest draft of the script for the film, about Tupac's life from his 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. On April 7, 2015, it was revealed that Singleton exited the film due to some major creative differences, while Carl Franklin was being eyed to hold the direction duties. 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 were not to exceed the production budget above $30 million, mutual approval for the lead actor's selection, filming schedule, and distribution and sales agreements. Randall Emmett and George Furla also claimed that they all first signed a distribution deal with Open Road, which Morgan Creek rejected, and then Morgan Creek inked a new deal with Open Road without mutual approval.
On November 30, 2015, it was reported that music director Benny Boom would be directing the film now replacing Franklin. Early-December 2015, the film's title was confirmed to be All Eyez On Me On December 24, 2015, newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. was cast in the film to play the role of Tupac. Jamal Woolard also joined the film to play the role of The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac's former friend turned rival, reprising the role Woolard portrayed 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 Panthers. Following Gurira's casting, Variety reported on 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 revealed later that Dominic L. Santana had been cast as record producer Suge Knight.
On January 13, Jamie Hector signed on to star as Mutulu Shakur, Tupac's stepfather. On January 15, Lauren Cohan joined the film's cast to play the role of Leila Steinberg, a key figure in Tupac's life as his mentor. Money B would appear in the film as himself, Tupac's coworker at Digital Underground, Clifton Powell as Floyd, inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility, and Johnell Young as a Tupac's close friend, Ray Luv. On January 19, TheWrap confirmed that Grace Gibson was cast in the film to play Biggie Smalls' wife, Faith Evans, who was reportedly in an adulterous affair with Shakur. On January 22, 2016, Keith Robinson was cast as Atron Gregory, TNT Records founder who first helped Tupac becoming a dancer and then a solo artist. Annie Ilonzeh was added to the cast in February 2016 to play the role of Kidada Jones, 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. On September 13, 2016, the 20th anniversary of Shakur's death, a second teaser trailer was released. It was announced that the film will be released on 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.
In North America, All Eyez on Me was released on June 16, 2017, alongside Rough Night, 47 Meters Down and Cars 3, and was originally projected to gross $17–20 million from 2,471 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $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.com attributed the film's success to the release corresponding with Tupac's birthday, as well as audience interest on the subject matter following the success of Straight Outta Compton in 2015.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 21% based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 4.3/10. The site'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 score of 38 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
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 many inaccuracies about her relationship with Tupac and why he left for Los Angeles. Smith claimed 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 selective portrayals.
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