Child-Trafficking Drama ‘Sound of Freedom’ Opens to More Than $11.5 Million

With a rare Tuesday opening, “Sound of Freedom” (Angel Studios), a drama starring Jim Caviezel as a real-life rescuer of children from traffickers, grossed $11,563,200 — just under the day’s total for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Disney), which played in almost 2,000 more theaters with just under $11.7 million.

Another difference: “Indiana Jones” often played on multiple screens. Based on theater spot-checks, “Freedom” played mostly single screens, often with smaller capacities, and saw sold-out shows. The result was a stark contrast in the films’ per-theater average: “Indiana” was about $2,543 in 4,600 theaters, while “Freedom” saw about $4,400 in 2,634 theaters.

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Angel also reported that its “Pay It Forward” promotion grossed an additional $2,679,000 thanks to patrons buying gift tickets for others for future use. Under normal industry practice, that revenue should be counted as they are used. With that among added, the day’s take for the film exceeded $14.2 million, which would make it #1 for the day.

Originally produced by Fox International and later shelved by Disney, director Alejandro Monteverde and producer Eduardo Verástegui (best known as the executive producer of the 2019 anti-abortion drama “Unplanned) shot the film in 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia.

“Freedom” is now distributed by the Provo, Utah-based Angel Studios, which specializes in “wholesome” content. (It offers the genres of Christian, comedy, drama, documentary, and kids’ shows.) The film’s reported budget is around $15 million.

The opening, impressive under any conditions, was enhanced by group sales (with the additional marketing hook of elevating the initial gross) and by block sales to churches, with some reported to give away tickets to congregants.

The Passion of the Christ
“The Passion of the Christ”Newmarket Films/20th Century Fox

Driven by the outspoken Caviezel’s proven appeal to the faith-based community (“The Passion of the Christ”), this is an elevated example of films finding a passionate (and profitable) audience outside the mainstream film media. “Freedom” isn’t even listed on the website of review aggregator Metacritic, which normally lists all but the most obscure releases.

Earlier this year, Angel released “His Only Son,” based on the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac. With a reported budget of $250,000, it grossed $12 million.

In one day, “Freedom” grossed more the full domestic runs of recent awards contenders like “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “TAR,” and “Women Talking.” Its gross nearly doubles that of current independent hit “Past Lives” (A24).

“Indiana Jones” stands currently around $84 million domestic, boosted in the last two days by the holiday. A better test of whether it can recover from its weak initial results will come during its second weekend.

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