Sound of Freedom pays it forward to $125 million at the box office

The summer box office scores a surprise hit

Together with

The Future. Amid “Barbenheimer,” Sound of Freedom, the fact-based thriller about a US federal agent who quits his job to chase child sex traffickers, has become an under-the-radar hit, scoring $125 million to date and even beating Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One last week at the domestic box office. Its success may be inextricably tied to its novel “Pay It Forward” concept, which other studios may try to emulate… but could come up short when it’s not in support of an issue-driven film.

Tickets vs. butts
Sound of Freedom’s ticket sales and audience numbers may not be exactly lining up.

  • Distributor Angel Studios created an app called “Pay It Forward,” which allows people to purchase tickets that others can redeem to see the movie for free. 
  • It’s the biggest movie to use this strategy thus far, leaning on star Jim Caviezel (controversies, notwithstanding) popping up at the end of the film to tell the audience about its existence.
  • During its July 4th opening weekend, those Pay It Forward tickets accounted for 20% of the movie’s box office sales. 
  • Today, it accounts for over 10 million of the film’s overall ticket sales.

Yet, some people have reported “sold-out” screenings of the film actually had mostly empty theaters. AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron says that’s nonsense, while Angel Studios says it’s possible if a group buys out a theater and not everyone shows up… but stresses that people using the app agree they’ll use the tickets.

Whether people show up or not has no effect on the box office receipts. The tickets are paid for. Still, box office analysts, like Jeff Bock at Exhibitor Relations, say more transparency around deals like this would help quash any rumors of “artificially inflating” the audience.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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