The recent death of boxer Muhammad Ali will be honored with a return to theaters for Ali, the 2001 biopic that chronicled 10 memorable years in the celebrated pugilist’s life.
The film, which received two Academy Award nominations (one for star Will Smith and another for supporting actor Jon Voight), will be screened in select theaters nationwide over the weekend in a brief, limited run. Sony Pictures has instructed anyone interested in catching the film during its re-release to check their local theater listings for available screenings.
“With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we have received many requests for this film to return to theaters, in celebration of his life,” said Sony Pictures’ president of Worldwide Distribution, Rory Bruer, in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The film truly honors everything that made Ali one of the central figures of our time, a man who commanded his sport but whose personal faith and principles made him mean so much more. Muhammad Ali truly was The Greatest, and this tribute is a great way to honor him.”
Written and directed by Michael Mann, Ali cast Smith as the celebrated boxer and Voight as sports journalist Howard Cosell. The cast also featured future Oscar winner Jamie Foxx as Ali’s cornerman Drew Bundini Brown; Mario Van Peebles as Malcolm X, Jada Pinkett Smith as Ali’s first wife, Sonji Roi; Giancarlo Esposito as Ali’s father, Cassius Clay Sr.; and LeVar Burton as Martin Luther King Jr.
Ali is set between the years 1964 and 1974, when he first won the heavyweight boxing championship from Sonny Liston and when he later regained it from George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” match. During the years between those championship bouts, Ali converted to Islam, changed his name from Cassius Clay, refused to serve in the Vietnam War, and was a high-profile figure in the civil rights upheaval of the time.
Due to the relationship he developed with Ali and his friends and family while making the movie, Smith was chosen to be one of the pallbearers for the boxer’s memorial service.
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