Alejandro Monteverde is the Mexican filmmaker behind “Sound of Freedom,” the small-budget phenomenon which has taken the US and international markets by storm, making millions upon millions of dollars for Angel Studios and the theaters screening it. He’s also the one with the inside scoop on why Disney, which owned the film before Angel Studios bought it, never released the anti-sex trafficking movie, which has since become a major hit.
As background, Mr. Monteverde originally directed the film and it was to be distributed by Fox International, the international division of 20th Century Fox. The script was written starting in 2015 and filming began in 2018, with the film finished that same year. But then Disney bought 20th Century Fox and shelved the film. It was bought by Angel Studios in early 2023 and then released in July of 2023.
Mr. Monteverde gave the inside scoop behind Disney’s shelving the film in an interview with MovieWeb, claiming that the movie was not buried because of its content but instead just lost, as it was a small-budget film, in the massive amount of IP that Disney acquired with its 20th Century Fox purchase.
Beginning, Mr. Monteverde explained how the movie’s small size and budget worked against it, as did it being part of Fox International. He said, “I think what happened was the following. You know, when Disney bought Fox, imagine all the content that there was to go through. I think we got lost in translation. We were a little movie. Also, we were with Fox International, which is even a step farther from domestic Fox. So I just think that, when the merge happened, our film got lost. I don’t think it was intentional to be like, ‘Oh, we don’t want anyone to see you.’ I just think it was the nature of when one company gets bought.”
He then explained that it was further buried by Disney looking for positive content as people were depressed by the Covid pandemic, saying, “And then COVID happened. And you know, everybody thought that after COVID, people wanted to see movies that are very happy and not heavy. So our film started to even get more on the shelf, because people, the minute they heard what the film was about, I don’t even think they were considering it, because of the heaviness.”
Mr. Monteverde then added that he does not think Disney had “bad intent” in keeping the movie shelved, and that also the increase in attention paid to the sex trafficking industry before its release might have made it a bigger hit than it would otherwise have been.
Making that point, he said, “So, I want to believe there was not a bad intent. I just think that the circumstances didn’t help our film. But looking back retrospectively, I think also right now people are more familiar with the theme. If we would have come out earlier another year, I don’t know if we’d get the box office success that we have had. I think the timing just happened to come together perfectly, and the universe kind of aligned to launch this kind of film.”
Featured image credit: By gdcgraphics, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5199020
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