December 15, 1998 12:00 AM

Will Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld have backed out of “Rumble in the Jungle,” a Muhammad Ali biopic with Smith starring as the boxing champ. The duo, who teamed for the box-office knockout with “Men in Black,” dropped the project because there are other Ali-themed projects slated for television on ABC and Fox and the two have other commitments. Because their “Wild Wild West,” was a disappointment, their relationship has suffered, reports The Hollywood Reporter. A Sony exec says the studio will continue to develop the film.

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