A film about child trafficking depicts summer films

Not only will “Sound of Freedom,” a thriller starring Jim Caviezel as a federal agent who deals with child smugglers, be the biggest summer box office hit. But it may not be possible.

The movie — whose distributor, Angel Studios, hit it big with “The Chosen,” a streaming series about the life of Jesus — was the third most-watched movie in North America this past weekend. Its $19.7 million weekend share was behind horror film “Insidious: The Red Door,” which grossed $33 million in its first weekend, and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which grossed $27.4 million in its second. .

“Voice of Freedom” is based on a true story: Caviezel plays Tim Ballard, a US Department of Homeland Security agent who investigated pedophiles. (Ballard later founded the anti-trafficking group Operation Underground Railroad, became a frequent guest on Fox News and was hired by former President Donald J. Federal advisory body on human trafficking).

Some critics He says The film appeals to the QAnon movement, which puts forward a false conspiracy theory that accuses progressive elites of pedophilia. The Guardian called it “a thriller juxtaposed with QAnon.” Rolling Stone condition He said that its “mainstream accessibility makes it a valuable recruiting tool”. In an interview, Angel CEO Neil Harmon said, “Anyone who’s seen this movie knows this movie isn’t about conspiracy theories,” adding, “It’s not about politics.”

Caviezel, who starred in Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, appears to be alluding to QAnon while promoting the film on Stephen K. Bannon’s podcast, saying “There’s a big storm coming,” a move with mention of “adrenochrome,” which is A hormone QAnon followers say the elite harvest from child victims.

A representative for Caviezel did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did the Underground Railroad operation.

Although “Voice of Freedom” isn’t as explicitly religion-based as Angels’ other projects — including “The Chosen One” and “Only Son,” a modern film about biblical fathers — it is the latest example of the entertainment industry’s success story. It targeted the audience that Hollywood often overlooks.

The movie, which was made independently for $14.5 million, has taken more than $41 million from its domestic release on Tuesday, July 4, through this past weekend, according to Comscore. And comScore, a media analyst, said it was unusually slightly more profitable on Sunday than on Saturday. Angel Studios’ unorthodox “Pay It Forward” program, which lets backers go online to buy tickets for those who might not otherwise see the movie, may have helped. So may her emerging status as a political soccer player: backed by the right, reviled by critics of the left.

Angel, based in Provo, Utah, relies on crowdfunding to further its projects. The company said more than 7,000 “angel investors” have raised $5 million in revenue sharing to help market “Voice of Freedom.”

“We think the Hollywood gatekeeper system model, for content selection, is not choosing the content that people want to see,” said Jared Jesse, Angel’s senior vice president of worldwide distribution.

Producer of “Sound of Freedom”, Eduardo Verasteguiand its director and co-writer, Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Verastegui In an interview, most of the financing came from Mexican backers. The movie was shot in 2018. It was dropped by the original distributor, Fox Latin America, after Disney acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019. (A Disney spokesperson said the studio was never aware of the movie.) It describes itself as a values-based studio.

VerasteguiHe, the producer, admitted to being polarized about the film. He, too, promoted it on Bannon’s podcast. But he said he hoped the political differences could be shelved in favor of the film’s anti-trafficking message.

The movie, which is just over two hours long, makes no mention of specific QAnon principles. Hitting many typical action movie beats, it depicts trafficking and related problems such as images of pedophilia as stark and growing, and suggests that wealthy internationals are among its consumers. His featured cast includes Bill Camp and Mira Sorvino in a small role as Ballard’s wife.

During the presentations, Caviezel addresses the audience, saying that the filmmakers hope The Voice of Freedom will be the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” of slavery in the 21st century.” He adds, “We believe this film has the potential to be a great step forward toward ending Child trafficking.