Barbenheimer isn’t the only phenomenon dominating the US box office right now. In addition to Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer both drawing big crowds to cinemas and managing to capture the zeitgeist, the surprise hit Sound of Freedom is a Trump-endorsed anti-sex trafficking drama that’s outperformed recent hits like Pixar’s Elemental and Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One domestically.
Driving the success of Sound of Freedom in large part seems to be word of mouth from older audiences, for many of whom director Alejandro Monteverde’s film starring Jim Caviezel has been one of the first movies they’ve seen in a theater since before the pandemic. The movie opened on July 4, wasn’t really on anyone’s radar at first, and it’s since gone on to make almost $150 million domestically (compared to its budget of just $14.5 million).
As for how other recent blockbuster successes stack up against it, consider: As of this writing, Tom Cruise’s latest Mission: Impossible has brought in less than $140 million domestically, while Sound of Freedom’s total US haul so far is pretty even with that of Pixar’s latest, Elemental.
As for what Sound of Freedom is about, Caviezel plays a government agent named Tim Ballard, who quits his job to rescue a girl from Colombian sex traffickers. Despite that dark subject matter, though, the film’s momentum continues to build, having added screens across the US this summer following its debut. It’s also become popular among conservative audiences and right-leaning political leaders, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hosting a screening in recent days for Democratic and Republican lawmakers — as well as Trump himself hosting a screening at his New Jersey golf club attended by Republican leaders and activists.
″‘Sound of Freedom’ is a summer movie success story that wasn’t even on the radar just a few short weeks ago,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CNBC. ”[It] has become one of the most talked about movies of the summer a film [and its] box office revenue has surpassed that of titles with much bigger stars, brands, and budgets.”