An American Saga Release Schedule, Explained


One of the most ambitious movies arriving during the summer movie season of 2024 is Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga. It marks Costner’s first directorial feature in 21 years following 2003’s Open Range. The story will span a 15-year period, both pre- and post-Civil War, showing the expansion of the American West and features an all-star cast that includes Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Luke Wilson, Danny Huston, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Giovani Ribbisi and many more. When the film unveiled its first trailer, it boldly said it would be a two-part film, with the two chapters released two months apart, in order to tell its massive story.




Costner brought Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1 to the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, officially confirming he planned for more films. Production on Chapter 3 is currently underway with Chapter 4 following closely. Costner clearly has big plans for this story, and it could be a new major franchise. Here is how many films he has planned, when they will be released, and what could prevent future films from happening.


Costner Plans For Four Horizon Films


In June 2022, Costner confirmed he planned to film four films in the Horizon: An American Saga series with the intention to shoot two entries back-to-back. Filming for Chapter 1 went from August 29, 2022, until November 2022. Filming Chapter 2 began in April 2023 and finished in the summer of 2023, just before the SAG-AFTRA Strike of 2023. That strike halted production on Chapter 3 beginning on May 6, 2024. Production is currently underway, with a break in filming to accommodate Costner’s appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, where Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1 premiered out of competition on May 19, 2024.

Chapter 3 is currently in production, and Costner will likely begin filming Chapter 4 shortly after. He might already have filmed some segments as he shot a montage for Chapter 3 during the production of Chapter 2. Chapter 4 has no set production date, but it is planned to be the final entry in Costner’s plans.

Horizon Release Schedule


Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1 opens in theaters on June 28, 2024, just in time before the Fourth of July weekend. The movie opens in theaters the same day as A Quiet Place: Day One and a few days before Despicable Me 4. Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1 will serve as good counter-programming, looking to attract an older moviegoing audience who might want a more adult-oriented film and have positive associations with Costner, both from his previous films like Dances with Wolves but also his hit role on the series Yellowstone.

Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 2 will open less than two months later, on August 16, 2024. This is one of the shortest gaps between two-part entries. Fans had to wait one year between the release of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame and will also have to do the same with the upcoming WickedPart One is set for release on November 27, 2024, before Wicked Part Two is released on November 26, 2025. The Matrix sequels attempted a similar release pattern to Horizon, but six months apart as The Matrix Reloaded hit theaters on May 15, 2023, with The Matrix Revolutions on November 5, 2023.


As Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 3 is currently filming, and Chapter 4 has not even begun production, this means that no release date is known. There is certainly a chance that Costner could have Chapter 3 ready for summer 2025, but given that he likely wants a similar release pattern for Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 as the first two entries, the two films might not arrive until 2026. This would also be fitting as Chapter 1 finished filming in 2022, two years before its now summer 2024 release date.

Movie

Production Status

Release Date

Chapter 1

Completed

Jun 28, 2024

Chapter 2

Completed

Aug 16, 2024

Chapter 3

Currently Filming

TBA — Earliest, Summer 2025

Chapter 4

Pre-Production

TBA — Earliest, Summer 2025


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Challenges Along the Way

Costner’s plans for Horizon: An American Saga are certainly grand, but there are problems that could arise along the way. Planning a massive multi-film series based on an original property has never been done on this scale. While some might draw a parallel to James Cameron’s ambitious four sequel plans to Avatar, those were sequels to the most successful movie of all time. Cameron made sure the first Avatar was a hit before investing billions of dollars into four planned sequels.


Horizon: An American Saga, meanwhile, is an original property, one that looks very different from most summer movies. Fortune does favor the bold, but it comes with plenty of risk. The “Chapter” in the title, though, does pose a difficult issue. The reason films like Dune, It, and Wicked have avoided advertising their first entries as Part One is due to a belief that audiences are less likely to turn out for only half of a movie.

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There is also the factor that there does seem to be a downward trend in the box office as so far in 2024, no film has opened to $100 million opening weekend. Films like The Fall Guy and IF have already shown a rocky start to the summer movie season, and as ticket prices increase, it seems harder to get audiences out to the theater. Chapter 1 reportedly has a 3-hour runtime, so it will be facing an uphill battle regarding the number of theaters. Fortunately, the budget shared between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 is $100 million, so if both movies can gross that and more, it can be seen as a win.

For this passion project, however, Costner has said he would put up his own money to see this project completed and has already put up $38 million to make the movie happen. It has been his dream since 1988, and he is intent on seeing it through. However, how it will be completed will have to wait and see. Costner himself is no stranger to major box office hits like Dances with Wolves or Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but he is also no stranger to box office flops like Waterworld and The Postman. It will be interesting to see how Horizon: An American Saga plays out this summer and if this bold new release plan and franchise building will work.


Check out the trailer for Horizon: An American Saga below.



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