Studio behind hit ‘Sound of Freedom’ wants to give audiences greenlight power


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Angel Studios wants to give audiences the power to decide what movies are made.

The company behind last summer’s surprise box office hit, the child trafficking movie “ Sound of Freedom,” employs a crowdfunding model to finance projects from the ground up.

“The gatekeeper model is broken, it isn’t working for audiences, the creative community or the theater owners either,” Angel’s distribution head Jared Geesey told an audience of theater owners and exhibitors Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Its biggest hit to date, “Sound of Freedom,” earned over $250 million globally and was one of the top 10 films of the year domestically. Angel Studios raised the funds to make it in just a week. When it was in theaters, they introduced a unique “pay-it-forward” model in which ticket buyers could choose to buy tickets for strangers. Company leaders say it resulted in nearly 2 million additional people seeing “Sound of Freedom.”

In 2023, their first year releasing movies, Angel Studios made over $300 million worldwide. According to its leaders, over 100,000 people from 155 countries have invested nearly $80 million in projects released to date, including last month’s “Cabrini.”

And Angel is hoping the momentum continues with several new releases coming this year, which they previewed for exhibitors at CinemaCon. On Memorial Day, they’ll debut the drama “Sight,” starring Greg Kinnear and Terry Chin. It’s based on the true story of eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang, who endeavored to restore a blind child’s vision. And on the Fourth of July, they’ll have “Possum Trot,” executive produced by and starring “Black Panther’s” Letitia Wright. “Possum Trot” is also inspired by a true story about 22 families in a small town in East Texas who adopt 77 foster kids.

Also on the slate are “Bonhoeffer,” about the anti-Nazi pastor who helped found Confessing Church and later died in a concentration camp, and “Homestead,” a post-apocalyptic survival drama starring Neal McDonough, due at Christmas. Finally, there is the animated movie “David,” a biblical story, set for Thanksgiving 2025.

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