It hasn't been an easy time for the Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me. Despite a solid debut, the movie was blasted by critics, and people who actually knew the rapper didn't hesitate to voice their displeasure on social media. As if it wasn't having a bad enough time, All Eyez on Me has now been hit with a hefty lawsuit. Should the copyright-infringement lawsuit succeed, the movie would have to be pulled from theaters and the plaintiff will receive a chunk of the movie's profits.
Journalist Kevin Powell is suing All Eyez on Me for copyright infringement. In the mid-1990s, Powell did a series of exclusive interviews with Tupac for Vibe Magazine. Powell claims that the producers and screenwriters of the biopic lifted the stories from those interviews and used them in the film without Powell's consent. The articles in question used fictional characters and re-worked narratives that are original to the articles, and Powell claims that he saw those narratives and characters onscreen. Powell owns the copyright to his interviews and claims that the movie uses "content and narrative" that was "exclusive" to his writings. Thus, he is suing production for stealing his work.
In the lawsuit, Kevin Powell demands that the film that opened on June 16 be pulled from theaters. In addition, he wants a portion of the $31 million the film has already made at the box office. In the suit, the distributor, Lionsgate, is listed as a defendant, as well as producers Terrell Hutton, David Robinson, and James G. Robinson; screenwriters Steven Bagatourian, Jeremy Haft and Eddie Gonzalez; and Morgan Creek Productions. None of them have issued a statement yet.
Per Deadline, one of Kevin Powell's lawyers issued a statement and written that Powell has "consistently worked to cover and protect the Tupac Shakur narrative with integrity and dignity." The interviews with Tupac came from "trust established over the years" and it further states that these intense and exclusive moments should not have been used without Powell's permission.
It has yet to be proven that the production team used Kevin Powell's interviews with Tupac Shakur as inspiration for All Eyez on Me, but producer Terrell Hutton did share (in specific phrasing that he is sure to regret) with The Breakfast Club radio show that "all of the interviews" with Tupac were used for All Eyez on Me.
All Eyez on Me is currently out in theaters, so if you wanted to watch it, you better hurry, because it might not be out much longer. There are sure to be more updates on the lawsuit, so keep following along with CinemaBlend and we'll keep you updated with new information as it becomes available. For the rest of your movie-going summer, head to our 2017 movie release schedule.