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The faith-based movie "Sound of Freedom," about a man’s efforts to stop child sex trafficking, has been a summer box office hit, taking in nearly $54 million as of July 14.
Some social media users alleged that AMC Theatres intentionally tried to deter people from watching the movie with tactics such as turning off the air conditioning.
AMC CEO Adam Aron rejected those claims, pointing out 1 million people have purchased tickets to see the film at its theaters. Angel Studios, the company distributing the movie, also said the claims are not accurate, and that AMC planned to show the film on more screens.
Despite the box office success of "Sound of Freedom," some fans have flooded social media with complaints that AMC Theatres is trying to deter filmgoers from watching the movie.
The movie, a faith-based thriller starring Jim Caviezel, is about former Homeland Security agent Tim Ballard’s anti-child trafficking efforts in Colombia. It has been a surprise hit, despite competing with the latest "Indiana Jones’" sequel and other summer blockbusters.
The movie has also generated some controversy over Caviezel’s statements, such as when he told Steve Bannon on Bannon’s "War Room" podcast June 22 that children are being tortured to produce adrenochrome, which supposedly makes people look younger. That baseless QAnon conspiracy has been debunked many times.
More recently, social media users are claiming that one of the large theater chains showing the film is intentionally sabotaging screenings of the film. That would be an odd choice given the film’s success and that AMC and other movie theater chains are still struggling to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Various accounts on social media apps such as Twitter, Tik Tok and Facebook have been overflowing with claims of sabotage by AMC because of a lack of air conditioning in the room, theater lights being left on and fire alarms going off.
In a TikTok video from July 8, a woman claimed she and her friend pre-ordered tickets for the film but noticed the tickets had been refunded before the showtime because of a lack of air conditioning. The woman then said there was air conditioning in the hallways and lobby but not in the theater.
"Why would they not send out a notice in the email saying ‘we refunded your tickets because there is no air conditioning,’ and we just are curious why they would not let us know," she said in the video.
Another video posted on Facebook claims AMC sabotaged the movie by refunding tickets in several cities because of the lack of air conditioning.
Although it’s not clear how many theaters were affected by air conditioning or other problems, or whether other movies being screened were also affected, the claims of intentional sabotage have been rejected by both AMC Theatres’ CEO and Angel Studios, the company distributing the movie.
We’ve reached out to both companies for comment, but didn’t immediately get a response.
However, AMC CEO Adam Aron chastised conspiracy theorists on Twitter, pointing out in a July 12 tweet that more than 1 million people had seen "Sound of Freedom" at AMC Theatres.
Angel Studios released a July 13 statement also rejecting the AMC allegations.
"We understand there are rumors—predominantly in social media—that AMC theaters have made it difficult for fans to see Sound of Freedom in local AMC theaters, and we want to make it clear these rumors are not accurate," said Brandon Purdie, head of Angel Theatrical Distribution.
AMC has agreed to add additional screens because of the movie’s success, the statement said.
Jeffrey Harmon, a co-founder of Angel Studios, tweeted his support for AMC July 9 in response to another tweet from Aron, calling AMC an "amazing partner."
In a July 9 tweet responding to a Jack Posobiec, a conservative commentator who asked his followers whether they had experienced theater issues, Harmon blamed "heat waves" for air conditioning problems and urged people to thank theater employees for their hard work.
Air conditioning companies in states like North Carolina, California, Louisiana and Arizona have reported an increase in demand for repairs as summer temperatures rise and reach warmer-than-average levels.
Theater issues certainly haven’t affected the film’s box office take. Before the start of the July 14 weekend, the movie had grossed nearly $54 million in the U.S. since its July 4 release. Its $19.7 million haul on the July 7-9 weekend was the third-highest behind the new horror movie sequel, "Insidious: The Red Door," and "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny."
Social media claims allege that AMC Theatres is intentionally sabotaging screenings of "Sound of Freedom" to keep people from seeing the film.
Both AMC and the studio behind the child sex-trafficking film have publicly rejected the claims. The movie has been a box office success, taking in nearly $54 million by July 14. More than a million people have seen the movie at AMC’s theaters, its CEO said.
We rate the claims False.
Box Office Mojo, "Sound of Freedom," accessed July 14, 2023
Box Office Mojo, "Latest Weekend: Jul 7-9," accessed July 14, 2023
AP News, "How QAnon uses satanic rhetoric to set up a narrative of ‘good vs. evil’," Oct. 20, 2020
Twitter Post, June 20, 2023
Reuters, "Theater chain AMC’s revenue tumbles, shares frop 9%," Feb. 28, 2023
Insider, "‘Barbie,’ ‘Oppenheimer’ are theaters’ last chance to make money this summer," July 12, 2023
Twitter Post, July 11, 2023
TikTok Post, July 10, 2023
TikTok Post, July 8, 2023
Facebook Post, July 2023
Twitter Post, July 12, 2023
Angel Studios, "Angel Studios statement on SOUND OF FREEDOM and AMC Theaters," July 13, 2023
Twitter Post, July 9, 2023
War Room podcast, "WarRoom Battleground EP 317: Sound of Freedom: A sit-down with Jim Caviezel," June 22, 2023
Spectrum Local News, "Air conditioning companies seeing demand increase," June 15, 2022
KXTV, "Heat waves has air conditioners service in demand for California," July 12, 2023
The Advocate, "Heat wave pushing repair, electric companies to the limit," July 6, 2023
KGUN, "Air conditioner repair companies expecting an increase in demand for repairs," June 12, 2023
Scientific American, "What’s causing this record-breaking heat?," July 11, 2023
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