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Kevin Costner’s Horizon: Chapter 2 Theatrical Release Canceled Amid Poor Performance of First Film

The much-anticipated August theatrical release for Kevin Costner’s ambitious Western epic, Horizon: An American Saga, has faced a significant setback. New Line Cinema announced that the second chapter of the film, originally scheduled to hit theaters on August 16, has been canceled. The decision comes on the heels of the disappointing performance of the first installment, which accumulated a modest $23 million in its initial two weeks, prompting a strategic rethink by the studio.

The announcement was made public on Wednesday by New Line Cinema. “Territory Pictures and New Line Cinema have decided not to release Horizon: Chapter 2 on August 16 in order to give audiences a greater opportunity to discover the first installment of Horizon over the coming weeks,” a spokesperson for New Line conveyed in an official statement. For the time being, the release of Chapter 2 is marked as TBD (To Be Determined) on the theatrical calendar. The first chapter, which made its debut in theaters on June 28, is set to become available on premium on-demand platforms on July 16. The precise date for its streaming availability on Max has not been announced yet. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to bring this development to public attention.

The decision to delay the release marks a humbling acknowledgment that Costner’s high-stakes theatrical gamble with his long-cherished passion project hasn’t resonated with audiences as hoped. Horizon: Chapter 1, which premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival, had a hefty production cost of approximately $100 million. This high investment makes the road to profitability extremely challenging, if not outright impossible. Even more personal stakes are involved as Costner invested some of his own money into the project. Despite this setback, Costner has already commenced shooting the third part of what he envisions will be a four-film saga.

Reflecting on the movies’ rapid release schedule, Costner commented in May, “The studio wanted to try that. I knew this was going to come out fairly quickly, like every four or five months.

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. That may have been easier. But this is something they feel like people can remember the first one and it can tie into the second one.” Costner’s remarks underline the studio’s experimental approach to the project, banking on the quick succession of releases to keep audiences engaged and invested in the narrative.

Kevin Costner, who wears multiple hats as the director, co-writer, and co-star of the films, has been attempting to bring Horizon to life for over 30 years. His journey with this project saw him exit from the immensely popular TV series Yellowstone, showcasing his dedication to Horizon. Costner has always envisioned that the ultimate destiny of Horizon was television. “They’re going to break this up into a hundred pieces, you know what I mean?” he elaborated. “After four of these, they’re going to have 13, 14 hours of film and they’re going to turn into 25 hours of TV, and they’re going to do whatever they’re going to do. That’s just the way we live in our life but they’ll also exist in this form. And that was important for me, to make sure that happened. And I was the one who paid for it.”

This move represents a significant shift in Costner’s plans and underlines the volatile nature of the entertainment industry. Despite the grand vision Costner harbored for Horizon, the tepid audience reception and current market dynamics necessitated a re-evaluation of the project’s rollout strategy. The financial and emotional investment in Horizon is a testament to Costner’s passion and tenacity, even if the immediate commercial prospects appear dim. Only time will tell if the subsequent chapters of Horizon can capture the audience’s imagination and bring the ambitious saga to a more successful conclusion. For now, fans of the series will have to wait for the TBD date to delve into the ongoing story of Horizon: An American Saga.