Article found on newsweek.com
Written by Ryan Smith
Sound of Freedom is continuing to surprise industry analysts with its strong performance at the box office, having just crossed the $100 million mark in North America, some three weeks after its release.
While all eyes are on the simultaneous release of anticipated blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer—in a showdown playfully dubbed “Barbenheimer”—low-budget, faith-based Sound of Freedom has been an unexpected force to be reckoned with.
The antithesis of the typical summer hit that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats through high-octane action, or belly-laughing their way through a star-studded comedy, thriller Sound of Freedom tackles tough subject matter.
The movie is based on the life of former Homeland Security special agent Tim Ballard (played by Jim Caviezel). The plotline follows Ballard as he sets up Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), an anti-child-trafficking organization. Mira Sorvino and Bill Camp are also among the film’s stars.
Released on the Fourth of July, the film opened to positive audience figures, beating Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at the box office. Eduardo Verástegui-directed Sound of Freedom made $14,242,063 on its first day in theaters, while the new Indiana Jones movie made $11,698,989 domestically.
Distributed by Utah-based Angel Studios, Sound of Freedom is also the first post-pandemic independent movie to pass the $100 million milestone domestically. While last year’s Oscar-winning critical and commercial hit Everything Everywhere All at Once sprinted across the $100 million line, $63 million of that income came from the international box office. Remarkably, Sound of Freedom has achieved its success without being released outside of North America.
“Unusual and unexpected box office stories abound this summer with Sound of Freedom ranking behind only ‘Barbenheimer’ as one of the most notable stories of the season,” Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Newsweek.
“The film has added welcome box office dollars that weren’t even on the radar a couple of weeks ago and that’s great for the bottom line,” Dergarabedian added.
To date, Sound of Freedom stands as the 16th-highest grossing film released in North America this year. Judging by its current performance, it could easily climb the list, as 15th-placed The Flash has earned $107 million since its June 16 release, while Scream VI, which came out on March 10, has pulled in $108 million.
So what has pushed Sound of Freedom toward its unexpected success? The partially crowdfunded project has won the strong support of religious and conservative groups. Angel Studios’ unconventional promotional efforts have also included use of an app called Pay It Forward, with which patrons can donate tickets to others.
“Sound of Freedom has become the people’s movie,” said Jared Geesey, senior vice-president of global distribution at Angel Studios, per Variety. “This is the opposite of the top down system developed by Hollywood gatekeepers. We are empowering people to be part of choosing, funding, and sharing stories that amplify light and impact culture.”
Analyst Dergarabedian has echoed that sentiment, adding that, while being a faith-based film, it has the benefit of appealing to a cross-section of consumers.
“The stamp of approval by the faith community has certainly played a role in the film’s success, but the film itself is not overtly religious in nature and boasts known stars and a ‘based on true events’ hook,” Dergarabedian told Newsweek. “So it’s benefited from a perfect storm of factors that has made it an unexpected summer hit.”
It also has high-profile backing. Former President Donald Trump this week branded the film “incredible,” following a special screening he held at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
After calling lead star Caviezel’s performance “unbelievable,” Trump said of the film on Wednesday night: “It’s something that I’m not sure if you’re supposed to enjoy or learn, it’s a combination, but that was a great movie. Now I understand why it’s doing so well.
“It’s setting records by the way, it’s beating the biggest movies out there, they have some of the big summer blockbusters and this is knocking the socks off of them. So that’s pretty good.”
In a statement ahead of the screening, Trump criticized media outlets like Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, CNN and The Guardian that have “trashed the film and mocked the millions of movie-goers who purchased tickets to screenings,” as well as others who have refused to review it.
Sound of Freedom, a low-budget, faith-based film, has just crossed the $100 million mark in North America three weeks after its release. The low-budget, faith-based film, based on the life of former Homeland Security special agent Tim Ballard, follows Ballard as he sets up Operation Underground Railroad, an anti-child-trafficking organization. The film, distributed by Utah-based Angel Studios, is the first post-pandemic independent movie to pass the $100 million milestone domestically. It has achieved its success without being released outside of North America. The film has gained the support of religious and conservative groups, with Angel Studios' unconventional promotional efforts including the use of an app called Pay It Forward. The film has become the people's movie, appealing to a cross-section of consumers and gaining high-profile backing. Former President Donald Trump branded the film "incredible" following a special screening at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump criticized media outlets like Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, CNN, and The Guardian for trashing the film and mocking the millions of movie-goers who purchased tickets to screenings.