Former U.S. Agent Breaks Silence on Film Canceled by Disney

in Disney, Entertainment

The iconic entrance gate, featuring the stylized logo of the Walt Disney Company with a Mickey Mouse silhouette, is set against a clear blue sky.

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has been at the forefront of many successful projects, but there have been many others never to see the light of day.

Headed up by CEO Bob Iger, The Walt Disney Company is home to many popular media brands, including the likes of Walt Disney Animation, Disney Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, and 20th Century Studios. The company is known for its brand power in the entertainment industry but is also considered the leader in the tourism industry, where it boasts six Disney Resorts worldwide, as well as the Disney Cruise line and several other unique Disney Resorts.

Bob Iger in front of the Disney logo
Credit: Disney

Over the last few months, Disney has been met with backlash from fans over a variety of choices, including its latest animated films. Pixar’s Lightyear (2022) and Disney’s Strange World (2022) both were bombs at the box office and while Pixar’s Elemental (2023) has seen a much-needed uplift in recent days, the film still remains well below its projections. The last few movies released outside of animation– Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 (2023), and The Little Mermaid (2023)– have seen successes at the box office, but the jury is still out on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), which still reportedly has an uphill battle to get to its projections.

While the verdict is still out on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, one independently-released film is soaring up the charts and even overtook Indiana Jones 5 on July 4th. Interestingly enough, that film was canceled by Disney a little less than five years ago.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Credit: Lucasfilm

When Disney took over 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios), the company had some decisions to make. One of those decisions ultimately led to the movie Sound of Freedom, which had been completed by the studio prior to its purchase, being shelved. The owners of the movie eventually were able to purchase back the rights and now, in 2023, the film was released by Angel Studios.

The movie has been met with controversy, including several national outlets like the Rolling Stone calling it “QAnon fantasy.” Despite some of that backlash, it has made more than $50 million at the box office and has received positive reviews from many other acclaimed critics, including Variety’s Head Critic.

The movie tells the real-life story of a former U.S. Agent, Tim Ballard (played by Jim Caviezel), who undergoes a mission to rescue children who have been trafficked in Colombia. Though some publications have expressed backlash towards the film, Ballard recently told the New York Post that the movie is very real, not fantasy.

“They do make me look way more bad-a** in the movie than I am or ever was. But it’s based in truth,” Ballard told the New York Post. “The kids are real, what happened to them is real. All the bad guys and the good guys are real.”

Sound of Freedom, which was one a film owned by Disney
Credit: Angel Studios

Ballard shared in his comments that the movie “wasn’t designed to be political” and that it had nothing to do with QAnon.

“Too much has changed [in our society] since then,” Ballard said. “As I assess it, I’ve never seen a time when the country has been more divided and somehow the safety and protection of kids is in the balance.”

Eduardo Verastegui, who also stars in the movie, said he doesn’t quite understand the criticism either.

“I don’t understand [the criticism], but thank God,” the producer said. “They are doing us a favor, the more they attack the movie, people show up. ‘Sound of Freedom’ is saving lives.”

Sound of Freedom
Credit: Angel Studios

The movie has received more than 5,000 audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, generating a 100% approval rating, and critical ratings have been mostly positive (75%), with approvals from critics from several noted publications, including Variety, Culture Mix, and the Epoch Times.

The film has been operating on “word of mouth,” and the studio has even started a “Pay It Forward” program to help cover the cost of expenses for people who may not be able to afford to see the movie otherwise. More information on that can be found on Angel Studios’ official website.

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