Sound of Freedom – Reasons for the Five Year Delay and Disney Shelving the Movie

By Marc Miller
Published: July 18, 2023 (Last updated: December 11, 2023)
Sound of Freedom - Reasons for the Five Year Delay and Disney Shelving the Movie
Jim Caviezel in Sound of Freedom - Image Courtesy of Angel Studios.

The Sound of Freedom stars Jim Caviezel, Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), and Bill Camp (Dark Waters). Released on July 4th, 2023, the film grossed an incredible $85 million in less than two weeks, surpassing its $14.5 million budget. The Sound of Freedom box office was incredible, which has stunned the entertainment industry, especially after the release of the movie was delayed for five years after Disney controversially shelved it.

Directed by Alejandro Gómez Monteverde and written by Rob Barr, the movie has been a surprising hit with both audiences and critics. Sound of Freedom has received a rare A+ CinemaScore, even boasting a 99% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with over 10,000 verified reviews. While the film’s critical score has fallen to 57%, it still maintains a positive rating among critics.

Why Was Sound of Freedom Delayed for Five Years?

Sound of Freedom experienced a delay, and two stories surround the reasons behind it. In one account, Jim Caviezel, the film’s star, explains in a post-credit message that the film was held back to maximize its distribution and raise awareness about child sex trafficking.

“We hope Sound of Freedom will be the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of 21st-century slavery. He added, “We believe this movie has the power to be a huge step toward ending child trafficking.”

Another describes the movie had fallen into cinema purgatory after one studio absorbed another. However, after completing the film in 2018, it was shelved by the Walt Disney Company. Following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Sound of Freedom was pulled from distribution.

Eventually, the filmmakers repurchased the rights to Sound of Freedom and distributed the movie through Angel Studios.

Why Did Disney Shelve Sound of Freedom?

The film was made in 2018 and was not released by Disney, which was the reason for the 5-year delay. Reports indicate that the producers of the film had struck a deal with 20th Century Fox to handle the movie release. Events at the time led the film to be shelved after Fox was absorbed by Disney, who were on a spending spree at the time to acquire as many companies as they could.

However, the waters get muddy here, as there has still been no confirmation from The House of Mouse as to why they never attempted to get the film released. The event of COVID-19 also added to the problems the film had in getting shown.

The film’s director, Alejandro Monteverde, would eventually be able to strike a deal with Angel Studios in a final push to get the film distributed. It required a Crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds, but the fund was successful, and the game was afoot.

A statement from a Disney spokesperson in regard to the film would say that “(Disney) studios had no knowledge of the film given the nature of the international acquisition pre-merger.”

Who Bought Sound of Freedom?

Angel Studios would buy the film, leading to its eventual release in the US. It might be worth noting that Elon Musk would offer Angel Studios a chance to stream the film on Twitter, too. Looking into the release of the film in the US, it is hard not to notice the number of online comments and YouTube videos that feel the film has been deliberately suppressed.

Clips of people complaining that after showing up to the theatre to watch the film, they found it had been canceled due to technical problems, or others saying that theatres deliberately used the air conditioning units in the space to make audiences feel as uncomfortable as possible during the screenings, are easy to find.

It is really up to you, dear reader, to decide the validity of these events.

When theories on Twitter pointed towards theatres being involved in trying to bury the film, Adam Aron from AMC would tweet, “Yesterday we showed that movie 3,000 times at our 570 U.S. theatres and more than 100,000 people watched it @AMCTheatres. Misinformation on Twitter is astonishing. Bots? Haters?”

Controversy has arisen due to some commentary from the film star Jim Caviezel and his alleged connection with QAnon.

Is Sound of Freedom controversial?

According to the Washington Post, “The film is controversial because the man the movie is about, former Homeland Security operative Tim Ballard, and the actor who plays him, Jim Caviezel, both have links to QAnon. Ballard has promoted the baseless claim that furniture retailer Wayfair was involved in child trafficking.”

QAnon is a conspiracy theory and political movement that was, according to the New York Times, fabricated by the far right and an individual known as “Q.” The newspaper adds, “Explaining the ‘big tent conspiracy theory’ that falsely claims that former President Trump is facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles.”

However, the Sound of Freedom movie also has raised controversy with its ticket distribution method through Angel Studios. The film marketing is crowd-funded. The tickets can be free using a digital code or scanning a QR code that can be passed to others. According to reports, the studio raised enough money to give away four million tickets.

This has led to many claiming that Sound of Freedom is cutting box office profits from high-profile films over a major holiday weekend. That includes the Pixar film Elemental and the highly anticipated Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

What is Sound of Freedom about?

Jim Caviezel, known for his roles in The Passion of the Christ and The Thin Red Line, stars in Sound of Freedom. He plays Tim Ballard, a former federal agent who takes it upon himself to combat child traffickers. Distributed by Angel Studios, the synopsis reads:

“Sound of Freedom, based on the incredible true story, shines a light on even the darkest of places. After rescuing a young boy from ruthless child traffickers, a federal agent learns the boy’s sister is still captive and decides to embark on a dangerous mission to save her. With time running out, he quits his job and journeys deep into the Colombian jungle, putting his life on the line to free her from a fate worse than death.”

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