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Anti-Trafficking Faith Blockbuster 'Sound of Freedom' Whips Indiana Jones on Opening Day
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"Sound of Freedom," an impactful film produced by Catholic filmmakers Eduardo Verastegui and Alejandro Monteverde, had an extraordinary opening day, surpassing Disney's fifth installment of "Indiana Jones" to secure the number one spot at the box office. The film garnered an impressive $14.24 million in revenue.
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Despite a production budget of $14.5 million and a limited release in only 2,600 theaters on July 4, "Sound of Freedom" outperformed Disney's big-budget blockbuster. "Indiana Jones" had a production budget of $295 million, a wider theatrical release, and earned $11.69 million on the same day.
In a recent interview with Tracy Sabol from EWTN News Nightly, Eduardo Verastegui, who both produced and acted in "Sound of Freedom," highlighted the film's objective of raising awareness about the staggering exploitation of 2 million children each year in the global sex trafficking trade.
The film depicts the true story of Homeland Security agent Tim Ballard, portrayed by Jim Caviezel, renowned for his roles in "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Count of Monte Cristo." Ballard leaves his job and risks his life to embark on a perilous journey through the Colombian jungle, aiming to rescue hundreds of children from sex traffickers.
The narrative is based on the establishment of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) in 2013. Ballard, along with former government operatives including Navy SEALs, FBI, and CIA agents, founded O.U.R. to collaborate with law enforcement worldwide in the rescue of children from slavery and exploitation.
Verastegui, a Mexican-born actor acclaimed for his faith-based films such as "Bella" and "Little Boy," shared that he met Ballard and his team eight years ago in Los Angeles. Learning about the immense suffering endured by these children deeply affected him, leaving him inspired by their work while simultaneously shocked and disturbed.
Ballard revealed the grim reality of children enduring repeated sexual abuse, often up to 10 to 15 times a day, and the horrifying practice of organ trafficking after years of exploitation. Verastegui was stunned and questioned why a problem of such magnitude persisted, especially in the United States, a powerful nation with abundant resources, technology, and law enforcement capabilities. Ballard's response was disheartening: child trafficking was not a priority.
Motivated by his role as a filmmaker and actor, Verastegui recognized that he possessed a potent tool for educating and inspiring others. He felt a calling to initiate a movement to combat child sex trafficking and eradicate it alongside Ballard and other dedicated individuals worldwide who fearlessly fight for this cause.
Verastegui emphasized the need for a collective movement that could exert pressure on governments, transforming this issue into a top priority. By mobilizing society, government entities, the entertainment industry, and the news media, he firmly believed that this heinous reality could be brought to an end.
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Originally produced under 20th Century Fox in 2018, "Sound of Freedom" faced setbacks when Disney acquired the studio. However, the film finally found its way to theaters after being acquired by the Christian-based "Angel Studios," known for its TV show "The Chosen."
The film's resounding success has resonated with audiences across the nation. Even entrepreneur Elon Musk took notice, suggesting on Twitter that Angel Studios make "Sound of Freedom" available. Verastegui responded gratefully, expressing anticipation for Musk to see the film and emphasizing the importance of protecting God's children.
In a separate interview with CNA, Jim Caviezel described "Sound of Freedom" as his best film since "The Passion of the Christ." He emphasized the film's exploration of the battle between good and evil, stressing the urgency for individuals to make a choice rather than remaining on the fence.
Caviezel firmly asserted that children, who represent the most innocent among us, are under attack not only through child trafficking, as depicted in the movie, but also through abortion. He underscored the vulnerability of children and the importance of safeguarding their well-being.
According to a 2019 report from the Human Trafficking Hotline, states such as California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and New York have the highest number of reported cases. Over 350,000 children go missing annually in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 of them falling victim to trafficking.
"Sound of Freedom" serves as a powerful medium to shed light on the atrocity of human trafficking, prompting viewers to take action against this pervasive evil. Through awareness, advocacy, and collaborative efforts, the hope remains that society can bring an end to the suffering endured by these innocent children.