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“Sound of Freedom,” a faith-based movie about child sex trafficking, has become an unlikely box office savior, earning an impressive $40 million after just six days of release.

The film, which stars “The Passion of the Christ” actor Jim Caviezel, opened last Tuesday and drew a mighty $14.2 million on the Independence Day holiday. It maintained momentum over the weekend, collecting $18.2 million between Friday and Sunday to place third on the domestic box office charts.

Brandon Purdie, head of theatrical distribution at Angel Studios, the independent studio that’s backing “Sound of Freedom,” said in a statement that the movie exceeded expectations.

“We’re getting messages from all over the country telling us about packed theaters, sold-out theaters and spontaneous standing ovations for the film in numerous locations,” he said.

“Sound of Freedom” is one of the biggest openings in recent times for a faith-based film, according to Comscore. It demonstrated a demand by some viewers for content that reflects their values and beliefs, said senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“Such content can indeed find an enthusiastic audience, generate solid box office and impressive profits for their investors,” he said.

The movie was originally set at 20th Century Fox and was completed in 2018, before Disney acquired the studio the following year and shelved it. Angel Studios released it independently and has spent $15 million on the Caviezel-led thriller.

Opening weekend audiences were enthusiastic, bestowing the film an “A+” rating CinemaScore. Ticket buyers have been predominately female, while more than half were over the age of 45.

The movie was partially crowdfunded and has enjoyed support from religious and conservative media groups. Angel Studios also used an app that allows people to buy and then donate tickets to those who can’t afford the price of admission.

Critics have mostly praised the movie, which holds a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman described it as “a compelling movie that shines an authentic light on one of the crucial criminal horrors of our time, one that Hollywood has mostly shied away from.”

However, the film has stirred some controversy, with detractors accusing it of embellishing the reality of child exploitation and stoking QAnon conspiracy theories. Rolling Stone called “Sound of Freedom” a “QAnon-tinged thriller.”

Whatever one’s opinion of “Sound of Freedom,” it has clearly resonated with audiences and earned its title as box office savior. Dergarabedian added, “The strong response to faith-based films reflects a demand by an underserved audience who are hungry for entertainment that reflects their values and beliefs.”

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