It’s been a great week for the summer’s surprise box office hit, Sound of Freedom. The independent, faith-based film finished No. 2 at the box office last weekend behind the latest Mission: Impossible movie, on its way to passing $100 million in revenues since its July 4 opening.
Based on “real events,” the conservative-political thriller follows Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel as Tim Ballard, a former federal agent who embarks on a mission to rescue victims of child sex trafficking in Colombia. The film has especially resonated with conservative audiences, thanks in part to rave reviews from right-wing influencers as well as Angel Studios’ unconventional “pay it forward” plan, where people can buy a ticket for complete strangers to watch the film for free. According to IndieWire, on its opening weekend, $2.6 million of the film’s $14 million came from people buying “Pay it Forward” tickets.
Meanwhile, Sound of Freedom has been criticized for its “glamorized depiction” of human trafficking and its connections to the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose supporters have argued that Sound of Freedom exposes the “truth” about child sex trafficking. Despite the film itself making no direct mention of QAnon—or its claim that former President Donald Trump has been waging war against a secret cabal of satanic pedophiles and sex traffickers (i.e., Democrats) who control world governments, major corporations, and the media—it’s been embraced by Q supporters and by those involved in its production.
Caviezel has promoted these conspiracy theories for years now, speaking at a QAnon convention in 2021 and saying on Steve Bannon’s podcast before the movie’s release that “There is a big storm coming”—a not-so-subtle reference to the day Q followers believed the Trump administration would lead a mass arrest and execution of members of the supposed global cabal and usher in a new golden age. (The real-life Tim Ballard, the founder and former CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, has also promoted QAnon theories in the past, and reporters have called into question his work at O.U.R. and whether the events in the movie actually happened.)
Passion of the Christ, and Person of Interest star, Jim Caviezel — at a QAnon convention doing very normal, sane things.pic.twitter.com/lgxH8K24KD
— chris evans (@chris_notcapn) October 26, 2021
And speaking of Trump, Sound of Freedom scored its biggest victory of the week on Wednesday night when the former president hosted a private screening of the film at his New Jersey club. Afterward, he took the time to thank Caviezel, Eduardo Verastegui, and Ballard for making the movie, calling the film “something very special” and an “incredible inspiration.”
BREAKING: President Trump congratulates Jim Caviezel, Eduardo Verastegui, and Tim Ballard for making Sound of Freedom pic.twitter.com/mVZscLTBFd
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 20, 2023
Despite the film’s box office bonanza, conspiracy theorists continue theorizing: Fans have asserted a conspiracy that movie theater giant AMC is actively trying to keep people from watching the movie by turning off the air conditioning—a victim narrative propelled by the belief that a nebulous “they” don’t want “us” to know about the “truth” about child sex trafficking (or at least QAnon’s notion of it).
🤔Movie theaters around the country are reportedly TURNING THE AC OFF for Sound of Freedom showings pic.twitter.com/bqaQixCp90
— Truthseeker (@Xx17965797N) July 13, 2023