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Costner’s Expensive ‘Horizon’ Bites the Dust at the Box Office

by Michelle Suarez
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Costner’s Expensive ‘Horizon’ Bites the Dust at the Box Office
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“Inside Out 2,” featuring Anxiety personified, maintained its position as the top film in North America for the third consecutive weekend. Meanwhile, “A Quiet Place: Day One,” a suspenseful prequel, exceeded expectations with its strong ticket sales.

However, Kevin Costner’s three-hour film “Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1” was largely ignored by moviegoers. Originally intended for streaming, this supposed start to an Old West series eventually made it to theaters, but failed to attract significant interest.

Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” was projected to gross $57.4 million, reaching a three-week total of about $470 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to estimates from box office analysts on Sunday. The well-received sequel is approaching $1 billion in global ticket sales, a milestone last reached by “Barbie” in July 2023.

“A Quiet Place: Day One” was expected to generate about $53 million in domestic sales over the weekend, beating pre-release expectations by more than 30 percent. The film, which cost Paramount about $67 million to produce, stars Lupita Nyong’o as a cancer patient who, along with her cat Frodo, faces off against an alien invasion of creatures with highly sensitive hearing.

Prequels often face challenges, with notable failures such as “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” “The First Omen,” and “Lightyear.” Fans’ familiarity with the outcome of the story can dampen enthusiasm, and prequels often lack the original stars who popularized the franchise, such as Emily Blunt in the first two “Quiet Place” films.

The success of “Day One” is especially noteworthy given the recent turmoil at Paramount. The studio’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, ousted a top executive, faced a takeover bid, and ultimately walked away, causing the stock price to plummet. Despite this, Paramount’s filmmaking team successfully brought “Day One” to market.

Costner’s “Horizon,” which cost about $100 million to produce and another $30 million for marketing, came in third, with a projected gross of $11 million. (Ticket sales are typically split 50-50 between theaters and studios.) Costner had hoped that fans of the hit “Yellowstone” series, particularly those in the central United States, would support the film, but that didn’t happen.

Box office experts doubt that “Horizon” will gain momentum in the coming weeks due to poor reviews and a CinemaScore of B- from audiences, indicating weak word of mouth.

Warner Bros. plans to release the second installment on August 16. Costner has already begun filming Part 3 and has announced a fourth installment. Warner Bros. acts only as a distributor and has no financial stake in the films, earning about 8 percent of ticket sales for its services. To finance the project, Costner mortgaged properties in Santa Barbara, California, and secured the backing of private investors. He left “Yellowstone” to focus on “Horizon.”

“There are movies that defy the odds, break the mold, and prove the skeptics wrong,” said David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes a box office newsletter. “In this case, the pattern is still intact: Westerns are not in fashion, and there hasn’t been a successful theatrical series of Westerns in the last 50 years.”

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