Hollywood Reporter

Angel Studios Entices ‘Sound of Freedom’ Director with a 10-Year Deal Fsalinks

Director Alejandro Monteverde delivered Angel Studios its top hit to date with Sound of Freedom, one of 2023’s biggest theatrical success stories with over $250 million at the global box office. Now, the faith-based outfit has signed the director to a rich overall deal with some curious terms, including the purchasing of a multi-million-dollar home.  

According to Angel Studios SEC filings that lay out the terms of the deal, Monteverde has signed a 10-year deal with the faith-based studio that will see the filmmaker direct five and up to 10 theatrical films. The massive deal comes during a time of industry contraction that is seeing the traditional Hollywood companies jettison expensive overall deals. But the agreement comes with some interesting stipulations. 

The potential films from Monteverde will have to be deemed “theatrical worthy” in a rating system from the Angel Guild, the studios’ paid membership service that gives members (currently numbering over 300,000 according to the company’s website) the ability to vote on future projects. The members are the studio’s greenlight authority, voting on whether or not potential projects “amplify light.”

In addition to directing his own features, Monteverde will also be consulting on other Angel Studios projects, offering notes during both scripting and post-production and will be mentoring other filmmakers working for the studio. 

As a part of the deal, Angel Studios has also agreed to purchase a house for Monteverde with a retail value of between $4 million to $5 million at a location of the director’s choosing. The director will then earn 10 percent of the value of the home each year, with ownership being transferred annually, during the duration of his 10-year deal with Angel Studios. The director’s annual salary payment from Angel will be adjusted depending on the purchase price of the home. 

According to the filings, the total salaried compensation paid to Monteverde over the course of the deal is equivalent on a net present value basis to $12 million, though the agreement also includes stock options that could prove to be valuable, depending on company performance. 

Angel Studios is known for its Christian-themed content that is partially crowdfunded through its membership service. Films and series produced by the studio are distributed theatrically and through other output deals and on the company’s streaming service. Its first major success came with Sound of Freedom, which beat out many of the year’s bigger studio titles at the domestic box office, including the fourth Indiana Jones installment.

Sound of Freedom, which is inspired by the life of Tim Ballard, a Homeland Security agent who embarked on his own quest to bring child traffickers to justice, earned $180 million at the domestic box office. Much had been made of the studio’s “Pay It Forward” model, whereby people can buy and then donate movie tickets for others to use. 

No other Angel Studios’ release has landed with the same impact, cultural or commercial. Cabrini, one of the company’s recent films at the box office also directed by Monteverde, earned a respectable $19.5 million, while its latest release, Sight, opened this past weekend to $3.75 million.

The SEC filing also includes company financials that underscore just how important The Sound of Freedom was to its bottom line. According to the filing, Angel Studios had revenue of $202.4 million in 2023 (this includes $35.3 million in “Pay It Forward” revenue). That was up 168% from 2022 when the company delivered $75.5 million in revenue (including $34 million in “Pay It Forward” revenue). 

Compared to a loss of $13 million in 2022, Angel posted a net income of $9 million in 2023.

This story first appears in the June 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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