In 2023, Taylor Swift experienced an incredible year marked by the commencement of her latest concert tour and the successful release of a documentary capturing its moments, generating substantial earnings. Despite her seemingly unstoppable momentum as a progressive pop icon, a modestly-budgeted film managed to surpass her in the rankings of the highest-grossing films of the year.
“Sound of Freedom” secured the ninth position among the top 10 highest-grossing films in 2023, surpassing Taylor Swift’s documentary “The Eras Tour,” which concluded the year at the 10th spot. Notably, when “Avatar: The Way of Water” is considered in the rankings, Swift finds herself relegated to the 11th position.
It’s worth mentioning that although the “Avatar” movie was originally released in 2022, its success propelled it to become one of the highest-grossing films in 2023.
As per Box Office Mojo, a platform that monitors the top-grossing films, “Sound of Freedom” raked in sales exceeding $184 million. Notably, Taylor Swift’s documentary fell slightly short, earning over $5 million less than the conservative film.
“Sound of Freedom” recounts the real-life narrative of Tim Ballard, a former US government agent dedicated to rescuing children from sex traffickers through his organization, Operation Underground Railroad. Upon its theatrical release, the film received acclaim from individuals across the political spectrum.
Produced by Angel Studios with a budget of only $14.5 million, the movie hit theaters on July 4 and emerged as a significant blockbuster success. Despite garnering positive reviews from numerous film critics, it faced criticism from The New York Times and other sources.
Film critic Glenn Kenny from The Times expressed discomfort with the movie, alleging that it seemed inappropriate and accused Tim Ballard of being overly sympathetic to the pedophile he interacted with before orchestrating a sting. Some critics also accused the film of promoting conspiracy theories.
Despite these critical appraisals, the American audience was drawn to the narrative of a hero rescuing a child, turning the film into a blockbuster hit. Surpassing Swift in the rankings added an extra layer of success.