A controversial new low-budget film has surprised the box office and sparked political debates.
- Deadline reported Friday that Angel Studios’ Sound of Freedom has grossed $58.5 million during its 10 days in theaters.
- The controversial anti-sex trafficking biopic was released on July 4, briefly outperforming Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny for a few days last week.
- The film has drawn considerable negative media attention, with Rolling Stone and The Guardian dismissing the film as “Qanon adjacent” and a conspiratorial right-wing fantasy for “nutjobs.”
- The film will expand from 2,852 theaters with an additional 450 this weekend, having already become one of the 25 top-grossing films of this year.
- The Sound Of Freedom was third place at the domestic box office last week behind Insidious: The Red Door and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Why It’s Important
The Sound Of Freedom is an unusual success story for the summer blockbuster season. While it is not competing against larger blockbusters like Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it has found a niche audience that has corralled behind it to support it.
Some of the success can be attributed to Angel Studios’ “Pay It Forward” scheme, which allows patrons to donate movie tickets and allow others who cannot afford to pay for tickets to see the film for free, using a similar fundraising model that the studio used on its mega-successful television series The Chosen. The studio has sold nearly 5 million tickets using this method.
The controversy surrounding the film has largely eclipsed the film’s success. The film has been repeatedly endorsed by controversial figures such as film star Mel Gibson, with its lead actor Jim Caviezel going on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast to discuss the infamous PizzaGate conspiracy. Former President Donald Trump, radio personality Ben Shapiro, and psychologist Jordan Peterson have also endorsed the film.
The film’s subject matter—about the horrors of child sex trafficking—has resulted in the film being tarred as paranoid and conspiratorial lies, with Vice News specifically challenging many of the film’s “based on a true story” factual claims as being exaggerated or partially untruth.
Many viewers of the film this week accused AMC Theaters of intentionally sabotaging film screenings by lowering the volume to inaudible levels, turning off air conditioners, and refunding tickets. Angel Studios defended AMC Theaters and denied these claims, with AMC CEO Adam Aron dismissing the claims as a “conspiracy theory” on Twitter.
The Sound Of Freedom was originally filmed in 2018 by 20th Century Fox before being shelved for several years by the Disney Corporation and eventually being purchased this year by Angel Studios.