As fans and celebrities alike continue to grieve the death of Muhammad Ali, Sony is giving the world a chance to relive the drama of the late boxing legend’s life on the big screen, as the studio announced Wednesday it will re-release the Will Smith-starring biopic Ali to theaters.
On Friday, June 10 — the same day a memorial procession and interfaith service are set to be held in Ali’s home town of Louisville, Kentucky — Ali returns to a limited number of theaters around the country. According to Sony, the film will screen “in homage and celebration of the life of the American legend,” who died June 3 of septic shock at the age of 74 after being treated for complications relating to Parkinson’s in a Phoenix, Arizona hospital.
Sony’s President of Worldwide Distribution, Rory Bruer, said via press release the studio received numerous requests to bring the film back to theaters “in celebration of [Ali’s] life.” He added: “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.”
Four-time Oscar-nominee Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider) directed the film from a script he wrote with fellow Oscar-nominees Stephen J. Rivele (Nixon), Christopher Wilkinson (Nixon), and Oscar-winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump). Smith earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in the titular role, while Jon Voight, who played sports journalist Howard Cosell, was also nominated for his work on the 2001 project.
Ali earned $58 million at the domestic box office and generally positive critical responses upon its release. EW’s review praised Smith’s turn, writing, “Within 30 seconds, he utterly gets you to forget that you’re watching Will Smith. It’s not just the look — the flattop and sandpapery skin, the bulging babyish lips — or even the happy singsong yowl of Ali’s voice, which the actor mimics with uncanny precision. Mostly, Smith acts with his eyes, and they are poised between coal-fire anger and that slightly inscrutable spaciness that Ali, in his heyday, had even at his most volatile.”
It was reported earlier this week Smith would serve as a pallbearer at Ali’s memorial service. He previously remembered the icon in a Facebook post on Saturday, writing, “You shook up the World! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace.”
Sony’s re-release of Ali begins its limited comeback run on Friday, June 10. Watch the film’s original trailer in the video below.