The Players Club
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ice Cube|
|Produced by||Patricia Charbonnet
Ice Cube (also executive producer)
|Written by||Ice Cube|
|Music by||Frank Fitzpatrick|
|Cinematography||Malik Hassan Sayeed|
|Edited by||Suzanne Hines|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release date(s)||April 8, 1998|
|Running time||104 minutes|
The Players Club is a 1998 comedy/drama thriller film from New Line Cinema starring Bernie Mac, LisaRaye, and Jamie Foxx. Ice Cube, who has a small role in the film, wrote and made his directorial debut. The movie was released on April 8, 1998. The movie made $5,894,607 in its opening week. Its box office grossed total came to $23,261,485
Diana Armstrong (LisaRaye) arrives at the scene of the charred, destroyed Players Club. She narrates of that she used to work at the club and begun when she moved out of her parents home after an argument with her father, as she was pregnant with her son. Diana ends up working at a shoe store, when she meets Ronnie (Chrystale Wilson) and Tricks (Adele Givens), who work for Dolla Bill (Bernie Mac) at The Players Club. They convince Diana she would make better money stripping, by saying "use what you got to get what you want".
Dolla Bill gives Diana a job, giving her the name Diamond. Everything is fine until four years into the game her cousin Ebony Armstrong (Monica Calhoun) comes to live with her. After listening to Dolla's rendition of "The Strippin' Game", she starts working at the club.
Ebony is soon out of control, excessively drinking, staying out all night and influenced more and more by Ronnie and Tricks, who encourage Ebony to do more out-of-club parties for groups of men. Diana tries to warn Ebony to stay away from "those two" and quit doing house parties, but Ebony declines being told what to do, choosing to ignore Diana's advice as well as cold-heartedly reminding her about the time when Ronnie sexually took advantage of Diana when she was passed out at a previous party.
Meanwhile, when a famous rapper, Luke (Luther Campbell) comes to the strip club, Reggie (Ice Cube) and his friend Clyde (Alex Thomas) are discussing about him. Clyde tries to meet Luke but his bodyguard (Michael Clarke Duncan) informs Clyde that Luke is trying to relax. Clyde insults the bodyguard, inadvertently causing him to hit Clyde in the back of his head as he leaves, barely fracturing his skull and leaving him unconscious. In retaliation, Reggie beats down the bodyguard and fights against Luke and his friends, only for him to be defeated and thrown into a glass pavement.
The dazed Reggie opens fire wildly before being knocked unconscious by the bouncer XL (Tiny Lister). Further tension develops between Ebony and Diana when Diana returns home one night after fleeing her obsessive customer Myrin, who admitted to stalking her and then tried to force entry to her apartment, to find Ebony in bed with her boyfriend Lance. Diana chases Lance out with her gun, shooting at him several times. Diana's rage threatens and taunts on Ebony, and Diana feigns leaving. Ebony is hit when she opens the door and is thrown out the apartment.
Diana then begins dating Blue (Jamie Foxx), a DJ at the Player's Club. Meanwhile, Ebony is offered a gig to dance at Ronnie's brother Junior's (Samuel Monroe Jr.) bachelor party, under the pretense from Ronnie that other girls from the club will be dancing there, too. When she realizes that she will be the only woman there in a hotel room full of hungry men, she desperately tries calling Diana to come and pick her up, but Diana doesn't, still being mad with her.
Reggie and Clyde, both feeling dissed by Diana and Ebony from a previous encounter, lie to Junior that Ebony will have sex with him, claiming that they "ran a train" on her. Excited, Junior bursts in on Ebony while she is changing. Ebony resists, prompting Junior to beat her. Soon, Reggie, Clyde and the other guests leave, wanting no involvement with Junior anymore. When Ronnie discovers Ebony unconscious, she and Junior flee the hotel room as she taunts him. Later, Diana has a change of heart and she and Blue decide to check up on Ebony at the hotel, only to discover her bloody and unconscious body on a bed.
This proves to be the last straw to Diana, who was growing tired of the stripper game anyway. Angered, she grabs her gun and goes to the Players Club, where Ronnie and Tricks are hiding out. After scaring the other strippers away by firing a warning shot for them to be excused, Diana gives the gun to Blue to cover her while she gets into a brutal fistfight with Ronnie, leaving Ronnie badly beaten. She personally quits in front of Dolla Bill, punches Tricks and leaves along with Blue.
Ronnie and Tricks are arrested by the police on charges of the rape of Ebony, and Junior had been arrested moments before. Later that night, Diana's timing proves to be perfect when a gangster who Dolla Bill owes money to, the wheelchair-bound St. Louis, comes to collect. He personally shoots up the club (though he does give warning to the customers beforehand, allowing them to leave). After his thugs grab Dolla and throw him into the trunk of a car, St. Louis has his henchman Brooklyn (Charlie Murphy) destroy the club with a LAW rocket.
Ebony, still sporting the bruises from her rape, now has a job working at the shoe store. Having been berated by two strippers who work at a new club, called Club Sugar Daddy's, with the same slogan that influenced her to strip, she firmly stands her ground. In the end, Diamond narrates that Ebony moved back to Tallahassee, FL to be with her mother. DJ Blue is a top DJ at a radio station, and that he and Diamond are still dating. Ronnie and Tricks got jobs at Club Sugar Daddy's after their release from jail. Junior is serving time in prison for raping Ebony, and that he never got married. Reggie and Clyde were last seen in Atlanta. St. Louis is still "running the South" along with his crew. Dolla Bill was never heard from again (it can be safely assumed that he was murdered by St. Louis's men for his debts, as he was last seen being stuffed into the trunk of their car). Diamond is now a successful reporter.
- Bernie Mac as Dollar Bill: the dim owner of The Players Club who is threatened by a loan shark name St. Louis as Dollar Bill has yet to pay him. At one point earlier in the film, he was captured by Brooklyn and K.C. but escapes death when the two loan sharks are arrested. At the end, he was re-captured by St. Louis' men and is presumed to be murdered after.
- LisaRaye as Diana "Diamond" Armstrong: a college worker who is employed at The Players Club to raise money for her college funds as she aspires herself into becoming a journalist. However, Ronnie and Tricks opposes a rivalry against her and she quits after a beatdown between her and Ronnie.
- Monica Calhoun as Ebony: Diamond's younger cousin who becomes sensibly out-of-control after being employed in The Players Club. She befriends Ronnie and Tricks, who manipulates and prompts her throughout. In the end, she begins working at a shoe store after being beaten and raped by Ronnie's younger brother.
- Jamie Foxx as Blue: the club's radio disc jockey and Diamond's love interest of the film.
- Chrystale Wilson as Ronnie: A stripper at The Players Club who rivals against Diamond as she aids Ebony. She is later beaten by Diamond due to her affiliation with Ebony's beating and rape (though she was unaware about this) and was arrested.
- Adele Givens as Tricks: A stripper at The Players Club and a right-hand of Ronnie. She was arrested at the end of the film.
- Anthony Johnson as Lil Man: the club's doorman who is frequently taunted and harmed by St. Louis and his crooks when he covers up for Dollar Bill's absences.
- Tiny Lister as XL the Bouncer: a tall, muscular bouncer of the club.
- Larry McCoy as St. Louis: a wheelchair-bound gangster who Dolla Bill owes money to.
- Charlie Murphy as Brooklyn: St. Louis' main henchman.
- Terrence Howard as K.C.: St. Louis' secondary henchman and Brooklyn's partner in crime.
- Ice Cube as Reggie: a regular who is somehow working for St. Louis and has affection towards Ebony.
- Alex Thomas as Clyde: Reggie's best friend who, like Reggie, has an affection towards Ebony and works for St. Louis.
- Samuel Monroe Jr. as Junior: Ronnie's younger brother.
- Faizon Love as Officer Peters: a police officer who harasses suspects.
- John Amos as Officer Freeman: another police officer who harasses suspects.
- Luther Campbell as Luke: a rapper who visits the club.
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Bodyguard: the tall, muscular bodyguard for Luke.
- Montae Russell as Lance: Diamond's boyfriend who she ended her relationship with due to his attraction towards Ebony.
A successful soundtrack was released on March 17, 1998, peaking at #10 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. It featured artists such as Ice Cube, DMX, Master P and Jay-Z, among others.
- This is the second time Bernie Mac and Ice Cube have worked together. The first was Friday and the third time was Ice Cube guest starring on The Bernie Mac Show.
- This film marks the screen debut of LisaRaye.
- This was Bernie Mac's first starring / lead role.
- The first time Ebony is introduced Lance and Jamal are in the living room watching Friday as Diana was studying. Ice Cube, Bernie Mac, Faizon Love, Tiny Lister and A.J. Johnson starred in Friday.
- In the scene where Officers Peters and Freeman are looking for Dollar Bill. Lil' Man tells Officer Freeman "You look just like the father from Good Times". John Amos, who plays Officer Freeman, actually played James Evans on the show for three seasons until the character was killed off.
- This is the first time that Jamie Foxx and Terrence Howard worked together, the second being the film Ray. This is also the first time that Howard and Mac worked together, the second being the film Pride.
- This is the second time that Jamie Foxx and Bernie Mac worked together, the first being the film Booty Call.
- This is the second time Terrance Howard and Monica Calhoun have worked together. They first appeared with one another in The Jacksons: An American Dream in 1992. The third being The Best Man.
- "Box Office". Box Office Mojo.
- "City of Angels' Takes Wing in Heavenly Opening Weekend". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- "Players Club Domestic Box Office". Han_Man.