By Brooke Mallory
6:00 PM – Thursday, July 6, 2023
The studio in charge of the distribution of the unexpected hit movie Sound of Freedom claims that its success refutes the Hollywood gatekeeping approach that has kept the low-budget thriller about the global child-trafficking trade out of theaters for over a decade.
Angel Studios, a Utah-based distribution company, released Sound of Freedom on July 4th to a $14 million theater premiere, outperforming Disney/Lucasfilm’s most recent Indiana Jones release that day and pushing Hollywood to reconsider both the film and its distributor.
The film stars Jim Caviezel in a captivating thriller about child sex trafficking, which was previously turned down by Disney.
The film’s successful distribution was partially supported by a group of studio loyalists who helped with funding.
“We’re so excited about the box office success, but what that number actually represents is awareness,” said Jordan Harmon, co-founder of Angel Studios with his three brothers.
The film is based on the actual tale of former federal agent Tim Ballard, who quits his job to avoid the bureaucracy that comes with traveling overseas to rescue children from human traffickers.
The studio said that they hoped to sell two million tickets in its first week to reflect the number of trafficked children worldwide.
According to the Post Millennial, Sound of Freedom made $14 million on July 4th, while the newest Indiana Jones movie grossed just $11.5 million.
The film, which also stars Mira Sorvino and Eduardo Verástegui, is currently showing in 2,600 theaters throughout the country and has received a majority of positive reviews, even from reviewers who were not quite sold by the studio’s apparent “cultural alignment.”
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film presently has an 88% fresh score from critics and a 100% audience score.
Some liberal and leftist movie critics were still under the impression and belief that the worldwide issue of child sex trafficking was merely a “conspiracy” or fallacy, even with the recent Epstein scandal that was proven to be true.
“Let’s assume that, like me, you’re not a right-wing fundamentalist conspiracy theorist looking for a dark, faith-based suspense film to see over the holiday weekend,” wrote Variety Magazine’s Owen Gleiberman. “Even then, you needn’t hold extreme beliefs to experience Sound of Freedom as a compelling movie that shines an authentic light on one of the crucial criminal horrors of our time, one that Hollywood has mostly shied away from.”
Part of the film’s early success might be attributed to the studio’s patented pay-it-forward system, which allows spectators to purchase tickets for people who might not be able to watch the picture otherwise.
According to Variety, pre-sales for Sound of Freedom totaled more than $10 million.
Angel Studios, based in Provo, Utah, sprang from the ashes of VidAngel, a streaming service that screens content from movies and then broadcasts it online for subscribers.
Several big studios, including Disney, had sued the firm into bankruptcy. The original owners eventually agreed to sell it after paying the studios around $10 million. Disney also declined to distribute Sound of Freedom, prompting the director to repurchase the rights and contact Angel Studios.
The company raised $5 million for the film’s print and advertising expenses.
Jarod Geesey and Harmon, The studio’s SVP of Global Distribution, said they were optimistic about the film’s possibilities not only because of its quality and resonance but also because it had previously been viewed by a focus group, a process they want to apply in the future.