‘Ali’ is coming back to movie theaters this weekend

Hollywood spreads the word about Will Smith's lead actor Oscar nomination in 2002.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

In honor of Muhammad Ali, who died June 3, “Ali,” a biopic about the boxing icon and activist, will return to theaters this weekend. The move by Sony Pictures follows a similar one with Prince’s 1984 movie, “Purple Rain,” after the musician’s death in April.

“With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we have received many requests for this film to return to theaters, in celebration of his life,” Rory Bruer, the studio’s distribution chief, said in a statement. “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.”

The 2001 film stars Will Smith as Ali. He’s joined by Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight and Mario Van Peebles, among others. The picture highlights his accomplishments in and outside the ring and grossed more than $87 million worldwide. Smith and Voight earned Oscar nominations for their performances.


“Ali” will be re-released to “a few hundred” locations nationwide, the statement said. No word yet on where it will be playing in Los Angeles.

After Prince’s death April 21, Warner Bros. re-released the performer’s Oscar-winning picture “Purple Rain”; it screened at AMC and Carmike Theaters nationwide.

Sony believes re-releasing “Ali” is a great way to remember the boxing icon.

“[He] truly was the greatest, and this tribute is a great way to honor him,” Bruer said.

Smith, along with former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, will be among the eight pallbearers at Ali’s memorial service Friday in Louisville, Ky.


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