Kevin Costner's second 'Horizon' film pulled from theatrical release


NEW YORK (AP) — The August theatrical release for the second chapter of Kevin Costner's ambitious Western epic "Horizon: An American Saga" has been canceled after the first film fizzled in theaters.

New Line Cinema announced Wednesday that "Horizon: Chapter 2" will not hit theaters on Aug. 16 as scheduled. The studio had planned an unusually fast back-to-back release for the two "Horizon" films. But after the first chapter collected a modest $23 million in its first two weeks in theaters, the distributor pivoted.

"Territory Pictures and New Line Cinema have decided not to release 'Horizon: Chapter 2' on Aug. 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 said in a statement.

For now, the release of "Chapter 2" will be marked TBD on the theatrical calendar. The first "Horizon," which opened in theaters on June 28, will land on premium on-demand July 16. No streaming date on Max has yet been announced. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the shift in plans.

The move is a humbling acknowledgement that Costner's big theatrical gamble for his decadeslong passion project has failed to catch on with audiences. The first chapter of "Horizon," which debuted in May at the Cannes Film Festival, cost some $100 million to make, making its path to profitability extremely challenging if not impossible. Costner put some of his own money into it, and has already begun shooting a third installment of what he envisions will ultimately be four movies.

When asked in May about the movies hitting theaters in quick succession, Costner said, "The studio wanted to try that. I knew this was going to come out fairly quickly, like every four or five months. 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, who directed, co-wrote and co-stars in the films, had been trying to make "Horizon" for more than 30 years. While releasing the film, Costner confirmed his exit from the hit series "Yellowstone." The ultimate destination of "Horizon," he acknowledged, was always going to be on TV.

"They're going to break this up into a hundred pieces, you know what I mean?" said Costner. "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."