‘Sound of Freedom’ Studio Claims New Film Faces Hollywood Boycott

Author

Angel Studios, which released the summer hit Sound of Freedom, has claimed that its new movie, The Shift, is facing a boycott in Hollywood—with the assertion being shared on social media before the project debuted.

Serving as Brock Heasley’s directorial debut, The Shift is a love story set in a dystopian world that is based on the Bible’s Book of Job and tells the story of Kevin Garner, played by Kristoffer Polaha, who “travels across worlds and dimensions” to reunite with the love of his life, Molly (Elizabeth Tabish). Neal McDonough stars as a satanic mystery adversary called The Benefactor, who upends Kevin’s world.

In the two weeks since the thriller’s December 1 release, the movie has earned more than $9.4 million at the domestic office, according to Box Office Mojo. Heasley told Newyork Verified in November that the movie cost $7 million to make.

The Shift also benefited from pre-sale ticket sales and the studio’s “pay it forward” system which encourages people to buy tickets for others as a means to promote the film, especially those who couldn’t afford to buy the tickets themselves.

Neal McDonough is pictured in his role as The Benefactor in Angel Studios’ new movie “The Shift.” Sponsored promotions of the movie have pushed the idea that the film is facing a boycott in Hollywood.
Angel Studios

The Shift follows on from the marked success of Sound of Freedom, which is currently the 10th highest-earning movie in the U.S. with domestic box office takings of more than $184 million.

Sound of Freedom is based on the life of former Homeland Security special agent Tim Ballard (played by Jim Caviezel). The plotline follows Ballard as he sets up Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), an anti-child-trafficking organization. Mira Sorvino and Bill Camp are also among the film’s stars.

In the weeks and months following Sound of Freedom‘s release, a host of moviegoers shared videos on social media, claiming that various theater malfunctions across the U.S. disrupted screenings of the film. Many theorized that there was a conspiracy afoot to disrupt the impending success of the movie as unnamed powers in Hollywood purportedly wanted to suppress it.

Rolling Stone is now reporting that Utah-based Angel Studios recruited social media influencers in the days leading up to The Shift‘s release to push messaging that there is also a desire from Hollywood to buckle the latest film’s possible success.

TikTok influencer Jordan Wilson, who has more than 940,000 on the platform, posted a video on November 22, in which he said that The Shift star McDonough was “blacklisted from Hollywood because of his faith in God and he wouldn’t do sex scenes, to honor God and his wife.”

The video, which has been viewed more than 2.6 million times, features the hashtags “#ad” and “#angelpartner,” indications that would usually identify a post as sponsored.

After playing a clip of McDonough explaining why he was drawn to his role in The Shift, Wilson concluded by telling his followers to “be sure to watch this film” on its release, and asked them to “tag somebody you want to see it with and share it with everyone.”

A post from an Instagram account called Red Wave Republicans showed text that described The Shift as an “anti-woke” film that “Hollywood hates,” because “it is a faith-based movie about the Book of Job. It tells the story of Job, a man who had great wealth but had everything taken away by God to test his loyalty. Satan then tried to tempt Job, but Job refused and remained faithful to God!”

Also bearing the hashtags “ad” and “angelpartner,” an accompanying caption on the November 29 post reads: “Catholic Actor Neal McDonough’s commitment to his faith is truly inspiring! ‘Woke’ Hollywood hates ‘The Shift‘ movie because it’s about the biblical Book of Job and stars passionate [Christian] actors! Support faith-based films by going to see ‘The Shift.'”

Rolling Stone has also cited another influencer post that declares “Hollywood hates Angel Studios.” The Instagram account associated with that post has since been set to private.

While one of the posts described McDonough as having been canceled by Hollywood, Rolling Stone noted that the actor has worked consistently onscreen since the early 1990s. He had a role in the 2020 movie Sonic the Hedgehog, and 2021’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. He has also appeared in hit TV shows Yellowstone and American Horror Story.

Newyork Verified has contacted representatives of Angel Studios via email for comment.

In November, The Shift director Heasley told Newyork Verified about the challenges of working on his movie following the success of Sound of Freedom.

“For us to be following Sound of Freedom, I’ll be honest that it came with its own stress,” he said. “I became aware very quickly that all eyes were going to be on us. Which is great, which is what you want as a filmmaker, but also means that the expectations have got that much higher, that people will be expecting a certain kind and quality of film from that studio.”

Heasley added that “as a first-time filmmaker, at that stage when Sound of Freedom was released our film was still not complete. So I was hoping our film would be worthy. It was a blessing and a curse, I was very grateful but very aware of the pressure.”