sound of freedom

Source: Angel Studios

‘Sound Of Freedom’

Seventeen new films launch into UK-Ireland cinemas this weekend in a sign of the release schedule returning to its pre-pandemic state; as exhibitors look for a post-Barbenheimer success, and to capitalise on this year’s National Cinema Day, on Saturday, September 2.

Tickets for all films are available for £3 at over 630 cinemas across the UK and Ireland; last year’s National Cinema Day brought in 1.46m admissions.

Angel Studios is releasing Alejandro Monteverde’s biographical drama Sound Of Freedom, about a government agent-turned-vigilante who aims to rescue children from sex traffickers, with the film starting in 527 cinemas.

The film is benefitting from a Pay It Forward mechanism, that allows people who have seen it and/or are passionate about the issue to purchase a ticket for anyone who may not be able to afford one themselves. A message is available to be played at the end of the film advertising the mechanism to audiences; Screen understands only a small proportion of the UK-Ireland venues playing the film have selected to show the message.

The film has brought in a substantial US total of $180m and counting; but has also drawn controversy for its depiction of child trafficking, and has been linked to the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement.

Monteverde has rejected such claims, saying at a screening of the film in London on Thursday, August 24 that “it is a fact that this film is not based on the QAnon conspiracy”. Lead actor Jim Caviezel has repeated several of the conspiracy claims on talk shows and at QAnon-organised events.

Only one of the 17 new films hails from a major studio: Sony’s The Equalizer 3, starring Denzel Washington. The third title in the action series sees Washington’s Robert McCall in Southern Italy, where he must become protector to his friends by taking on the mafia.

First film The Equalizer opened to £1.9m in September 2014, ending on £6.9m; while sequel The Equalizer 2 started just below £2m in August 2018, ending on £7.5m. Anything in that range would be a decent result for Sony. Antoine Fuqua returns to direct for the third time, with Jason Blum among the producers and Dakota Fanning joining Washington in the cast.

Lionsgate has Samuel Bodin’s horror Cobweb in 355 cinemas this weekend, in which an eight-year-old boy tries to investigate the mysterious knocking sounds coming from within the walls of his house.

It is a feature directorial debut for US filmmaker Bodin, who has previously made shorts including Nuyya and Folles d’Adam, and directed for Netflix horror series Marianne in 2019.

Passages opens

Mubi is starting Ira Sachs’ festival hit Passages in 101 cinemas this weekend, about a film director who starts an affair, only to find himself torn between his new lover and his original partner.


Source: Sundance Film Festival


The drama had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January, and has since played at Berlin, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Karlovy Vary and Jerusalem film festivals.

It is rated 18 in the UK and Ireland; and received a rare NC-17 rating in the US, with the distributor opting to roll it out unrated instead. Sachs told the Los Angeles Times that the US rating was “a form of cultural censorship that is quite dangerous, particularly in a culture which is already battling in such extreme ways the possibility of LGBT imagery to exist.” Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw and Adele Exarchopolous star.

Independent UK-Ireland titles out this weekend include Irish comedy Apocalypse Clown through Vertigo Films; Klokkenluider, the debut feature of actor Neil Maskell starring Tom Burke, in five cinemas through MusicFilmNetwork; and Paul Robinson’s adaptation of Bea Roberts’ play And Then Come The Nightjars, on 57 screens this weekend through Munro Films.

Bulldog Film Distribution has Scott Monahan’s family drama Anchorage; MetFilm has a double bill of Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story and Baxter’s short film The Puppet Asylum in six sites; while Magic Monkey Films has Ryan Hendrick’s Scotland-set horror Mercy Falls in 49 sites.

Anime Ltd is distributing Takehiko Inoue’s animation The First Slam Dunk, following its successful release in Asian markets, where it had grossed $260m between December and June to enter the top five highest-grossing anime films of all time.

As the 2023 Venice Film Festival gets underway, Dogwoof is opening a title from last year’s edition: Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp’s documentary Bobi Wine: The People’s President. Miracle/Dazzler has crime drama Maigret starring Gerard Depardieu in 11 sites.

Repertory titles out this weekend include Jurassic Park in 486 cinemas through Park Circus; Melancholia in 23 cinemas across its first week through Curzon; and Tokyo Story through BFI Distribution.

This influx of new titles will aim to dislodge Barbie and Oppenheimer from the top of the charts, with the Warner Bros and Universal blockbusters maintaining first and second place for six consecutive weekends.