Hollywood Movies

Harsh Reality Check for Red State Movies

July 10, 20243 Mins Read

This time last year “Sound of Freedom” shocked just about everyone in Hollywood.

The July 4th release had sat on Disney’s shelf for nearly five years before Angel Studios set it free.

The result? The year’s most unlikely blockbuster, trumping “Fast X,” “The Flash,” “The Marvels” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”

A new “Sound” rang out over the weekend, but the results proved more muted.

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot” has earned $6.6 million in its opening, five-day frame on 2,200 screens. The film’s modest budget, in the $8 million ballpark, means it should be profitable in the short run.

That’s especially true since the film boasts big word of mouth energy (A+ CinemaScore, plus 97 percent “fresh” audience rating at RottenTomatoes.com).

It’s still a far cry from “Sound of Freedom,” which was 2023’s biggest movie story outside the “Barbenheimer” craze.

“Sound of Hope” features a strong faith sentiment, the kind of tale that appeals to Red State USA. We follow a Christian couple (Nika King, Demetrius Grosse) who inspire their community to adopt the most challenging children in the foster care system.

Other Red State-friendly films have also struggled to break out this year.

Consider “Unsung Hero,” the true story behind Christian singers King + Country. “Cabrini,” the fact-based tale of a determined nun who established a network of adoption centers, also boasted strong heartland values.

Those films earned $20 million and $19 million, respectively.

Once again, small budgets mean those films avoided the dreaded red ink wave. That’s also the silver lining behind “Ordinary Angels.” The Hilary Swank film followed a community rallying behind a very sick child. Its $13 million budget means its $19 million haul won’t spell doom for Lionsgate, the studio behind the project.

And then there’s “Something to Stand For,” a limited release featuring Mike Rowe’s salute to America. The film debuted in less than 1,000 theaters and has earned $1.3 million to date.

Conservative audiences once complained Hollywood didn’t create enough stories that cater to their values. That’s no longer the case. The Daily Wire is a full-scale entertainment shop, offering documentaries, children’s shows, feature films and more.  

The Blaze and The Daily Caller are nipping on its heels.

Angel Studios added theatrical films to its content roster last year, including the aforementioned “Sound of Freedom.” Next up? “Bonhoeffer” this November.


The recent box office numbers don’t suggest the Red State movie wave has failed. Sensations like “Sound of Freedom” don’t come along every day. A healthy film industry wouldn’t bank on these sudden smashes for profitability.

Plus, these films offer something mainstream Hollywood films often lack.

Faith. Redemption. Inspiration. Hope.

This creative space will continue to grow. Audiences will increasingly seek it out for alternative tales that speak to their worldview. assuming the quality matches conventional fare.

So far, so good.

And, by keeping both budgets and expectations low, platforms are minimizing the risks involved with high-stakes movie making.

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