Kevin Costner’s “Horizon” western pulled from theaters after box office flop

Kevin Costner’s ambitious passion project Horizon: An American Saga is not going as well as he hoped — and now Hollywood is changing course, canceling plans to release a sequel next month.

Costner has been intending to make his epic western Horizon a four-part film series, with the first two parts hitting theaters this summer: Chapter 1 was released on June 28, and Chapter 2 was scheduled for August 16.

However, the first film has struggled to find an audience. In its opening week, the film came in third place at the box office with $11 million, a bad start given its $100 million budget — $38 million of which was personally financed by Costner.

With Horizon flopping in theaters, the project’s studios have reversed course, delaying Chapter 2 from its planned August release date.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Territory Pictures and New Line Cinema decided to delay the release to give audiences time to watch Chapter 1 at home, on video-on-demand and on streaming.

“We thank our exhibition partners for their continued support as moviegoers across the US discover the film in its theatrical run,” a New Line spokesperson said, per the Hollywood Reporter. A new release date has not been set.

Horizon: Chapter 1 will be available to watch at home on premium VOD services starting on July 16. It will also be available on the streaming service Max at an unspecified date.

The plan to release the first two parts of the series just weeks apart was an ambitious and unprecedented plan in Hollywood, but the big swing didn’t pay off.

Studios have frequently struggled to get audiences in theaters: with high ticket prices and competition from at-home streaming, anything that isn’t a major franchise sequel can be a tough sell — especially a three-hour western.

Hopes for a hit were riding on Kevin Costner, who for the last few years has starred on Yellowstone, one of the most popular shows on TV. But that show’s fandom didn’t come out to the cinemas.

The big question now is whether or not those Yellowstone viewers will discover Horizon at home. Some movies find a second life on streaming and rentals after flopping in theaters, so there is hope that the film will build up an audience for the sequels.

n the other hand, Horizon: Chapter 1 received mixed reviews from critics and audiences — on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it has a “rotten” score of 41%, though the audience score is a more generous but not glowing 71%. It was criticized for its length and confusing narrative with many characters and storylines, though many critics praised the ambition and cinematography.

While the future of Horizon remains to be seen, the news must come as a sting to Costner, who has been trying to get this project made for decades and has a personal stake in its success. Costner announced last month that he would not be returning to Yellowstone due to his commitment to Horizon.

Did you see Horizon: Chapter 1 in theaters? Are you planning to watch it at home? Please share this story with your thoughts!

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