Kevin Costner’s Latest Cinematic Venture, “Horizon: An American Saga,” Incurred Over $20 Million in Personal Expenses. While continuing to play a prominent role in “Yellowstone,” Kevin Costner unveiled his long-dreamed passion project last year after an almost three-decade hiatus.
The grand four-part epic unfolds during the American West’s expansion, spanning the periods both before and after the Civil War. Recently, Warner Bros. slated “Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1” for release on June 28, 2024, with “Chapter 2” following two months later on August 16, 2024, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The substantial cost of Costner’s ambitious endeavor came to light through court documents after his ex-wife, Christine Baumgartner, initiated divorce proceedings following an 18-year marriage. Legal documents disclosed by Fox News Digital revealed that Costner anticipated a considerable financial return from “Horizon” after his initial investments.
In the court documents, Baumgartner’s legal team stated, “Kevin’s total compensation for acting, producing, and directing in Horizon 1 is approximately $12,000,000, and for Horizon 2 is approximately $12,000,000, most of which he voluntarily deferred. Kevin estimates that this money will ‘waterfall’ back to him starting in late next year. Kevin also has a profit participation in Horizon 1 and 2, which is yet another source of income.”
To ensure adequate funding for the project, Costner reportedly mortgaged ten acres of a $50 million oceanfront property in Santa Barbara, a move that raised some eyebrows, according to Deadline. Speaking about this decision, Costner expressed, “I’ve mortgaged 10 acres on the water in Santa Barbara where I was going to build my last house. But I did it without a thought. It has thrown my accountant into a f—ing conniption fit. But it’s my life, and I believe in the idea and the story.”
In August, during his divorce case, Costner emphasized that the first film in the four-part series was in post-production, a “critical” phase for bringing the project to life. He made it clear that he was fully committed to the project despite other commitments and scheduling challenges related to “Yellowstone.”
Costner revealed that he had been offered $24 million for seasons 5, 6, and 7 of “Yellowstone” before discussions broke down and the show was canceled. This put him in a position to solely finance “Horizon.”
Notably, this isn’t the first time Costner has personally financed his projects. In the past, he funded the 1990 film “Dances with Wolves,” “The Postman” in 1997, and “Black or White” in 2014. Of these endeavors, “Dances with Wolves” earned critical acclaim, winning Costner two Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture, along with a Best Actor nomination.
Reflecting on his journey, Costner shared, “I put all my money into this thing, and I actually asked three other directors to direct it before me. They each had very pronounced ideas about what they wouldn’t leave in the movie. They’re very well-known directors. I finally directed it by default. What I knew was I wasn’t as good as any of those other directors. But I wasn’t gonna leave anything out.”
The challenges of finding a like-minded partner in a project were not unique to “Dances with Wolves.” Costner’s struggle to bring “Horizon” to life dates back to 1988, when it was initially conceived as a single film. Despite several near opportunities, including one with Disney following the release of “Open Range,” the right moment had not yet arrived.
He elaborated, “Eight years later, I started thinking about the story, started writing with a partner, and it ended up being four screenplays. So, I reverse-engineered everything from 1988. I thought it was really good. But I still couldn’t get anybody to make it. At the end of the day, I’m a storyteller, and I went ahead and put my own money into it. I’m not a very good businessman, so scratch your head, if you will. I don’t know why, but I have not let go of this one. I’ve pushed it into the middle of the table three times in my career and didn’t blink. This is my fourth.”