NORTH-East film-maker Sir Ridley Scott’s new Hollywood blockbuster has been banned in Morocco, just one day before it was due to be screened.
It was unclear why the Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings was banned, as it had been given the green light by the state-run Moroccan Cinema Centre (CCM), which implements all rules concerning the industry.
Theatre managers said they received “verbal” instructions from the CCM not to begin screening the movie as planned on Wednesday, according to news website media24.
Others said CCM officials had informed them of the ban in person.
Hassan Belkady, who runs Cinema Rif in Casablanca, told media24 that he had been threatened with the closure of the business if he refused to implement the ban.
“They phoned and threatened they would shut down the theatre if I did not take the film off the schedule,” said Belkady.
CCM chief Sarim Fassi-Fihri declined to comment on the decision.
Sir Ridley’s historical blockbuster stars Christian Bale as Moses and retells his exodus from Egypt.
Moses is an important figure revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
Muslims consider Moses a prophet and Islam opposes the depiction of its prophets.
Sir Ridley, 77, was born in South Shields, and attended West Hartlepool College of Art after his family moved to Teesside.
He made his commercial breakthrough with Alien (1979), and his best-known works are sci-fi classic Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), best picture Oscar-winner Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Hannibal (2001), Matchstick Men (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Robin Hood (2010), and Prometheus (2012).