Sound of Freedom studio shuts down astroturf allegations

Posted: 2023-08-09T09:12:24

Update: 2023-08-09T09:12:34

Angel Studios, the studio behind surprise indie hit Sound of Freedom, has shut down allegations of astroturfing, saying the tickets were bought by “ordinary people”.

Sound of Freedom continues to exceed box office expectations, grossing $155 million in its first month of release before it even dropped in international theaters. It tells the true story of Tim Ballard, the former federal agent who founded a non-profit organization called Operation Underground Railroad to rescue children from sex trafficking rings.

The article continues after the announcement

But the film has been mired in controversy since its US release last month, with allegations ranging from cinemas deliberately sabotaging screenings (which have since been reprimanded) to discussions of its lead star Jim Caviezel’s ties to QAnon. .

This week, the success of Sound of Freedom has once again been in the spotlight amid accusations of astroturfing – but Angel Studios has now spoken out to end the allegations.

Sound of Freedom studio shuts down astroturf allegations

For the uninitiated, astroturfing refers to the practice of creating a false or misleading appearance of popular support for a cause, product, service or movement, when in reality such support does not exist. organically.

The article continues after the announcement

In the context of Sound of Freedom, a theory has circulated that Angel Studios or a company or organization supporting the film purchased a large number of tickets through its Pay It Forward campaign in order to increase ticket sales.

The Pay It Forward program allows people to purchase tickets for others who may not be able to see the film. However, this does not mean that all donated tickets are redeemed.

The article continues after the announcement

The astroturfing accusation came after many viewers took to social media to share clips and photos of empty screenings of supposedly ‘sold out’ shows. As one said on TikTok: “The movie theater is EMPTY and it says SOLD OUT online and at reception8 #thesoundoffreedom.”

Another commented on the situation, in writing: “What’s hilarious about Sound of Freedom is that Angel Studios’ release strategy urged audiences to buy entire venues and donate tickets, and now conspiracy theorists are angry because that their theater said the movie was sold out and they arrived to find an empty display.

The article continues after the announcement

However, in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Jared Geesey — Angel Studios’ senior vice president of worldwide distribution — put those claims to rest.

Although he declined to reveal how many of the 14.5 million reported U.S. ticket sales came from the Pay It Forward program, Geesey said: “The vast majority of tickets are purchased by ordinary people through a normal shopping flow.

“We don’t distinguish Pay It Forward tickets from regular tickets because they’re the same thing. A ticket is a ticket, whether you paid for it or someone else paid for it.

The article continues after the announcement

But there are still some who think there should be more transparency, with an unnamed studio cast executive source telling the outlet: “Besides the revenue issue, it’s unclear how much people actually watch the movie if we don’t know the number of tickets redeemed.

Sound of Freedom is in US cinemas now, and it will be released in UK cinemas on August 31. You can check out our other coverage of the film below:

The article continues after the announcement

Leave a Comment