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 with Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper and Danai Gurira in supporting roles.
Principal photography began in mid-December 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. All Eyez on Me 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 received negative reviews from critics but a positive response from audiences, and grossed $54 million worldwide.
The film opens at the Clinton Correctional Facility in 1995. A documentary filmmaker (Hill Harper) shows up with his crew and equipment to sit down with Tupac Amaru Shakur (Demetrius Shipp, Jr.). The filmmaker wants to get the real story from the man himself.
In 1971, Tupac's mother Afeni (Danai Gurira) is released from prison along with her fellow Black Panthers following her acquittal of several charges. She is pregnant with Tupac and she voices her complaints to a reporter over the unfair treatment of black individuals in the country from not only society, but the system sworn to protect its citizens.
From an early age, Tupac is taught about black pride and is witness to multiple injustices in his neighborhood. His stepfather Mutulu (Jamie Hector) is a revolutionary who has influenced Afeni, who in turn influences her son and Tupac's sister Set. Mutulu is wanted by the FBI for a robbery of an armored truck and the murder of two officers and a guard. FBI agents follow Afeni and her children, despite her telling them to back off. Mutulu is eventually caught during a raid when cops burst into the Shakurs' apartment, with cops violently pinning Tupac and his sister to the ground.
As Tupac gets older, he distances himself more and more from his mother's ideals and behavior. He eventually moves out on his own, along with his sister. At one point, Tupac catches Afeni outside his apartment purchasing drugs from a dealer. He punches the dealer and pulls his mother away, scolding her for being an addict. He later takes her to seek treatment, assuring her that she is strong enough to overcome her addiction.
Tupac attends the Baltimore School for the Arts where he becomes close friends with Jada Pinkett (Kat Graham). She promises that they will always be friends. Tupac reads her a poem that he wrote for her and about her.
Tupac's music career starts when he joins Digital Underground for their hit "Same Song". Under his manager Leila Steinberg (Lauren Cohan), he begins to have hip-hop albums produced. Although his music is popular, he gets into hot water with record producers for songs like "Brenda's Got a Baby", which is about a young girl who is raped by her cousin, has a baby on the bathroom floor, turns to prostitution and selling drugs for money, and how she is ultimately murdered on the streets. Tupac argues that the song comes from real stories in the streets of the impoverished and how nobody is willing to help people like the subject of the song. He also points out that the song sounds good, and the producers agree on that. He is also criticized of misogynistic lyrics toward women, which some speculate is attributed to his feelings toward his mother. In response, Tupac releases "Keep Ya Head Up" as a tribute to black women.
Tupac also starts acting in movies such as "Juice", as well as collaborating with other artists like Biggie Smalls (Jamal Woolard), both performing to excited crowds at venues. He generates as much praise as he does controversy in what he does outside of music, such as donating money to poor black citizens. He is seen giving money to two women and a little girl.
Outside of his performances, Tupac has run-ins with officers when he is caught jaywalking and is beaten by two officers. On another occasion, he and one of his friends catch two white men assaulting a black man. When they try to intervene, one man pulls a gun on Tupac. He goes back to his limo and gets his own gun. It turns out the two men were off-duty cops, and Tupac is arrested for shooting at them.
Another incident occurs when Tupac is performing at a music festival in 1992. Tupac and his guys are confronted by other guys looking to start talking trash. Tupac tells them off, but one of the guys tries attacking him. Tupac fights him off, and a brawl ensues. Someone fires their gun. In the ensuing chaos, a 6-year-old boy is shot and he dies in his mother's arms.
Tupac becomes involved with a dealer named Nigel (Cory Hardrict), and they do business together in music. When things go sour, Tupac and Nigel have a falling out. Nigel's guys want to retaliate against Tupac, but Nigel says that nobody touches Tupac unless he says so. The other guys appear to go against Nigel's orders.
In 1993, Tupac meets a young woman named Briana (Erica Pinkett). She seduces him in the club and gives him a blowjob among the crowd. They have sex, but Briana starts harassing Tupac with multiple phone calls. She is with Tupac and other men in a hotel room one night. Tupac receives a massage from her and he later falls asleep. Briana barges into his room hours later crying and screaming, indicating that the other men raped her. Tupac is later on trial for rape and harassment charges.
On November 30th, 1994, Tupac is attacked by three men in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios. Tupac is shot five times before the men flee. Biggie and other guys in Tupac's entourage rush to him before he is taken to the hospital. When Biggie tries to visit Tupac, he is turned away for not being a family member. Tupac checks himself out of the hospital early against doctors' orders.
? The following day, Tupac's sentence is declared in his trial. He is found not guilty of rape, but is found guilty of illegal touching, and is thus sentenced to 18 months in prison. Tupac calls out the judge for not looking him once in the eye since the whole trial began, stating that the judge doesn't care about justice, and that Tupac's life is in God's hands. This is where the documentary filmmaker's work ends.
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 encounters Mutulu in there, who encourages him to work after he gets out. Mutulu later murders another inmate by stabbing him to death. Tupac is also assaulted by two guards while in prison.
Following his release, Tupac signs to Death Row Records under Suge Knight (Dominic L. Santana), and he collaborates with artists like Dr. Dre (Harold House Moore) and Snoop Dogg (Jarrett Ellis). Tupac and 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 (Grace Gibson). This causes a rift between him and Jada when she confronts him about the song, but Tupac is rude to her and she turns her back on him.
While working with Suge, Tupac is witness to much of Suge's brutalities. During a dinner party, Suge calls out a member of his group for stealing money from him. He force-feeds him the food off his plate and has his other guys beat the man up.
Tupac meets Kidada Jones (Annie Ilonzeh), daughter of record producer Quincy Jones. She is angry at Tupac for comments he made about her father for going around having relationships with white women. Tupac defends his comments by saying that successful black men tend to go after white women instead of other black women, but he meant no disrespect by it. He tries to sweet-talk Kidada but she has none of it. Eventually, Kidada warms up to him and they start a relationship, which evolves into an engagement. Kidada meets Afeni, and Afeni tells Tupac she approves of Kidada.
In Tupac's final months, he decides to split from Death Row Records to start his own company to produce more music, movies, and TV shows. Suge reminds Tupac that he is still in debt from other business dealings. Later, however, Suge offers Tupac a chance to become partners, with Suge taking over the west coast part of Death Row, and Tupac taking over the east coast. Tupac agrees to it.
It is September 7th, 1996. Tupac, Suge, and the rest of their guys are leaving the Mike Tyson/Bruce Seldon fight at the MGM Grand. One of the Death Row guys alerts Tupac and Suge to a gang member that jumped him and stole his chain. Tupac and company confront the gang member, and Tupac punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Suge and his guys start assaulting the man as Tupac is pulled off of him.
Tupac stops by his hotel to change his clothes. He tells Kidada about the situation. She tries to go with him but Tupac assures her he will only be gone for an hour.
Tupac and Suge drive from the hotel with the rest of his guys following them. On the road, they are chatted up by two women pulling up next to them at a red light. On Tupac's side, another car pulls up. He takes a look and a gun sticks out. Tupac is shot multiple times before the car flees the scene. Suge rushes Tupac away from there and drives about a mile before his tires blow out. Officers on bikes try to stop Suge until the other guys show up and one of them shows the officers his badge. Suge desperately tries to save Tupac as others gather around him, but Tupac starts to lose consciousness.
The ending text states that six days later, Tupac was pronounced dead. To this day, his murder remains unsolved. By the age of 25, he released 15 albums, 7 posthumous albums, 713 songs, and 7 movies.
The film concludes with a clip of the real Tupac Shakur talking about people knowing the real him.
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.
No official soundtrack album was released to accompany the movie's release.
All Eyez on Me grossed $44.8 million in the United States and Canada and $10 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $54.8 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 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.
Despite its surprising opening weekend success, the film experienced a historic drop in its second weekend, dropping 78% to $5.8 million, the 16th largest such decline in history. In its third weekend the film was pulled from 1,213 theaters and dropped 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 16% based on 68 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 20 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 respective portrayals.
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