"Sound of Freedom" hit theaters on Tuesday, and due to the "Pay It Forward"technology used by Angel Studios, the true-life thriller, which was reported as tied with Disney/Lucasfilm's "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," actually beat out the studio giant for the No.1 spot at the box office on Independence Day.
As recorded by Box Office Mojo, "Sound of Freedom" grossed over $14 million in total: $11.5 million in direct box office sales and $2.6 million from the Pay It Forward tickets sold through the July 4 holiday. According to Deadline, "Indiana Jones" brought in $11.698M in total despite showing in double the amount of theaters.
"Sound of Freedom," shown in only 2,600 theaters, tells the true story of one man's journey to combat child sex trafficking. The Angel Studios film is based on the life of Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent who left his job because he wanted to do more to rescue children from modern-day slavery.
The film delivers a bold message calling for the freedom of millions of children enslaved in human trafficking, declaring that "God's children are not for sale."
Directed by Alejandro Monteverde, "Sound of Freedom" stars Jim Caviezel ("Passion of The Christ"), Oscar winner Mira Sorvino ("The Final Cut"), Bill Camp ("12 Years a Slave") and José Zúñiga ("Twilight"). Along with acting in the film, Eduardo Verástegui ("Unplanned") is the film's producer.
The film received an A+ CinemaScore, an 85% critics score and a 99% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Thanks to fans around the country, 'Sound Of Freedom' earned the top spot as America's number one movie on Independence Day. We've received numerous messages telling us theaters are either packed or sold out. This movie has now taken on a life of its own to become something more than that, a grassroots movement," Neal Harmon, CEO of Angel Studios, shared in a statement with The Christian Post.
"With an A+ CinemaScore rating, we're the top-rated movie in America, and we're going to see word-of-mouth spread even further going into the weekend. The world needs to see 'Sound of Freedom,' and we know that our biggest competitive advantage — our incredible fans and investors — are going to make sure that happens."
Shot five years ago, "Sound of Freedom" was once signed with Disney but then dropped. Multiple Hollywood studios also rejected the film, but Angel Studios acquired worldwide distribution rights earlier this year and it is now a certified success.
The movie will have viewers at the edge of their seats, waiting to see what Ballard does next on his mission to reunite a vulnerable family whose worst nightmare comes to life when both children are taken captive for sex work. Featuring mild foul language and some violence, the film's scenes that are not shown but suggested have a haunting effect on audiences.
The studio wants families with teenagers to view the film together since teenagers should also be educated on the evils of the world.
At the Miami premiere of the film, Monteverde told CP that he takes what Jesus said to His disciples seriously in Luke 17:1-2: "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."
According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released in January, Mexico "ranks first in child sexual abuse; first in exploitation, homicides, and trafficking of minors; and first in creation and distribution of child pornography."
The United States was identified as the "number one consumer of sex worldwide," which includes child pornography, according to Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking, as quoted in a 2019 Fox News report.
Verástegui previously shared with CP that he wants to "put pressure on the government so these things become a prime priority, not just for the government, for everyone."
"What really hurts me the most is that the people who are doing this to these kids are human beings like you and me, made of the same. This is not people who are coming from other planets that are our enemies. This is people like us. So at what moment, what happened to these guys?" Verástegui continued. "They were kids at some point full of dreams. So what happened in what moment they decided to, 'You know what? I'm going to use my life to hurt kids.'"
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines human trafficking as any situation in which someone experiences "force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control."
Multiple Hollywood studios rejected the film, but Angel Studios acquired worldwide distribution rights earlier this year.