Controversial Prophet Muhammed Film to Get Re-Release Across Arab World in Restored Version

The Message still - H - 2017
Courtesy of Trancas International

The 4K restoration of the Anthony Quinn-starring 'The Message' is having its world premiere at the Dubai film festival before being released in June.

A 4K restored edition of The Message, Moustapha Akkad's controversial 1975 film chronicling the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad, is set to be released across the Middle East next year. 

The historical epic was initially banned in Arab territories, encountering opposition from authorities and forcing the crew to move to Morocco and re-create model cities of Mecca and Medina for the shoot. During its release it also faced heavy backlash and theatrical banning in most Middle Eastern territories. In the U.S., the film’s theatrical release was suspended after an extremist group staged a siege in Washington, D.C., after it was mistakenly believed that Anthony Quinn played the role of Prophet Muhammad on film.

But the newly restored version of the film, as well as receiving its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival of Dec. 13, is now due to travel across the region in June 2018, in time for Eid, with Trancas International and local distributors Front Row Filmed Entertainment having signed a deal. 

The Dubai screening will be attended by Malek Akkad, chairman and CEO of Trancas and son of the late Moustapha Akkad. Malek Akkad is currently producing the Halloween remake with Miramax and Blumhouse. The film’s cast will also be reunited after 40 years.

"With SVOD platforms on the rise, this important film that is traditional viewing for billions of Muslim families during Eid can finally be accessed in every home — only this time reaching a new and non-Muslim audience, hopefully changing the perception of Islam," said Gianluca Chakra, managing director of Front Row.

Added Akkad: "The Message’s edicts of peace and understanding are extremely prevalent to our times. It is a tribute to my late father. It’s his legacy. I want a new generation of viewers, both Arab and international, to experience his greatest achievement once again. This film is a turning point. It’s a perfect time to reintroduce Arab faith and culture to a worldwide audience."