Look, you can't discuss the new movie Sound of Freedom without talking about the QAnon stuff so that goes with it, so I'm going to jump right in.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has said that QAnon is an "umbrella term for a sprawling spiderweb of right-wing internet conspiracy theories with antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ elements that falsely claim the world is run by a secret cabal of pedophiles who worship Satan and are plotting against President Trump. ... QAnon believers falsely claim the cabal is abducting children to kill them and harvest their blood for a chemical known as adrenochrome, which is used to extend their lives."

The filmmakers have denied being a part of Q or having Q sympathies. However, star Jim Caviezel has embraced the Q idea that there is a grand conspiracy to drink children's blood, and that doesn't come up in the movie, but we have to mention it because it's so closely tied to Caviezel and his talking points.

We aren't talking about Q or the movie's point of view for the rest of this article. I just wanted to get that out of the way at the top.

Today, I want to look at one of the most genius grifts I have ever seen pulled off. The idea of a "pay it forward" movie ticket sales strategy has helped Sound of Freedom rocket past $100 million at the domestic box office.

For those of you who don't know, after Sound of Freedom finishes, a link appears on the screen that encourages you to buy a ticket for someone who may not be able to see the movie.

While we don't have exact numbers on what these gifted tickets bring in, you can estimate its millions. IndieWire reported that it was around 20% of the sales, which means tens of millions of dollars.

And none of that goes to stop sex trafficking. It just goes to the movie studio as profit. According to their website, as of my writing this , they have sold 12,545,669 tickets this way!

This is maybe one of the most genius grifts in all of capitalism.

If you can market your movie in a way to show that it is important and get an audience to feel so deeply that others should see this movie, you can then add an immediate way for them to get gratifications while you get paid.


Well, you make them feel like giving you more money, in the form of more tickets, is as important as the message in the movie.

That can be tricky.

After all, the message of Sound of Freedom is to stop sex trafficking. But that can feel like an impossibility. I mean, what can we actually do to do that?

The movie gives them a solution. Buy more tickets.

Spread the word by sending them money.

This feels like that old TV pastor con, where you buy your way into heaven through donations.

But hey, a fool and their money is easily parted.

And instead of donating the price of a ticket to one of these human trafficking charities, you can just send more people to the movies.

I think I probably sound pissed off, but I actually admire them for figuring this out and doing it in such a bold way.

The jury is out on whether or not these tickets are being used - some have reported sold-out theaters that are actually empty, but I took the liberty of poking my head into the AMC in Century City last night and saw a fair crowd there weeks after the movie's release.

The point is, telling people your movie is important, and calling them to action by asking them to buy more tickets to share that importance with others, is an incredible marketing strategy.

Apparently, Angel Studios, the people behind the movie, have been doing this kind of campaign with other releases, starting with the faith-based film His Only Son.

I'm not sure it would work with other movies, faith-based films have such an easy push to activism behind them that it seems to ignite that segment of the population.

But Angel Studios have created this sense of a mission for the audience that is driving the big bucks. And none of this cash actually goes to stopping child trafficking.

In the early 2000s, we saw filmmakers head to places like IndieGoGo to try to fund their features and allow audiences to have a vote in what gets made. But this was never really scalable, and the movies that came from these sources only wound up doing okay. they also never allowed the audience to profit from the money they put into supporting these endeavors.

What's happening now with this movie is truly one of the most exciting stories to happen in Hollywood. We've seen faith-based movies perform many times, but none have had the call to action like this one. None have been able to pressure people and churches into donating tickets for unseen viewers.

It takes word of mouth to a whole new level.

It's a total grift.

But you sort of have to hand it to them.