The Hollywood Reporter has provided some insight to the success of this summer’s sleeper hit, Sound of Freedom, which has grossed a staggering $166 million for an indie movie. The Jim Caviezel starring movie has seen an insane amount of ticket sales, but skeptics have reason to believe that not every ticket-holder has actually seen the movie. Sound of Freedom’s distribution model boasts a new and unique “Pay It Forward” model, and the reason for the skepticism is how Angel Studios, the studio distributing the film, is allocating their funds when they report their box office numbers to Comscore, the company that keeps record of box office grosses.
Some critics believe the ticket sales reported for Sound of Freedom have been artificially inflated by the studio’s “Pay It Forward” model in which fans have been urged to donate money for other fans to see the film.
When you consider the current box office earnings of Sound of Freedom, you’d be right to scratch your head, and assume that the numbers aren’t quite adding up. A recent survey conducted by RMG research suggests that 49 percent of American voters are aware of the film, but still, boasts ticket sales that trounced Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Flash, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part 1, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts upon its opening weekend.
Skeptics call into question how the box office revenue for Sound of Freedom was calculated. Given the nature of the Pay It Forward model, where consumers are urged to not only buy their own ticket, but also encouraged to donate funds for anybody who wants to see the film without paying out of their own pocket.
[Angel Studios’ Jared] Geesey believes that the film will clear the $200 million mark in the US before it even sees an international release.
This method of purchasing tickets calls into question how many purchased tickets are actually being used by patrons to actually the see Sound of Freedom.
Angel Studio’s senior VP of global distribution, Jared Geesey, has gone on record stating that although the funds acquired through Sound of Freedom’s Pay It Forward model can be used at the studio’s discretion, reasonable efforts are used to actually get tickets to those who actually want to make their way to theaters. But like with all crowd-funding efforts, critics of this revenue generating method would like to see some transparency behind the process.
Though early reports on social media have suggested that “sold out” shows had empty theaters, other studio executives have taken defensive measures, stating that there were isolated incidents. Geesey has stated that of the 14.5 million tickets sold, only a small amount of them were through the Pay It Forward initiative.
Elaborating on the sale versus attendance numbers for Sound of Freedom, Geesey asserted that many tickets for the movie have been procured through the regular flow of purchase. In other words, tickets have been purchased by moviegoers who intend to see the film.
But Geesey has also stated that Angel Studios has not broken down the sales on a granular level, suggesting that Pay It Forward tickets should be counted in the same fashion as regular ticket purchases because a purchased ticket is a purchased ticket.
Though early reports on social media have suggested that “sold out” shows had empty theaters, other studio executives have taken defensive measures, stating that there were isolated incidents.
Sound of Freedom saw its premiere on July 4. Geesey believes that the film will clear the $200 million mark in the US before it even sees an international release.
Though the film tackles highly controversial topics like child sex-trafficking, it has done quite well for itself based on ticket sales alone. Whether every single ticket sale translates into somebody actually watching the film, however, is currently up for debate.