How Much Money Kevin Costner Invested In The Horizon Movies (So Far)


Kevin Costner is putting a lot of his own money into his Horizon: An America Saga movies, but how much has he put in thus far? It’s hard to believe it’s been over 20 years since Costner last directed a Western – or any movie, for that matter. The number of Kevin Costner Westerns is significantly smaller than John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, but the star is still closely tied to the genre. Even when certain projects like 3000 Miles to Graceland or Yellowstone are set in the modern day, the Western influences are hard to ignore.

Costner has been trying to make Horizon for 35 years, with the original idea having been conceived in 1988. What was once a single movie has blossomed into a planned four-part Horizon movie saga, with Costner having directed the first two chapters. Lengthy, R-rated Westerns are rarely viewed as guaranteed box-office gold, though the success of something like Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight shows it can be done.

The first two Horizon movies are said to have cost $100 million a piece, meaning they’ll need to make some serious bank if the final two chapters are to happen.

Kevin Costner Has Spent At Least $20 Million Of His Own Money On Horizon
Costner is really putting his money where his mouth is

In a May 2023 interview with Deadline, Costner joined filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola for a joint interview. Both filmmakers are sinking huge sums of money into their passion projects; Coppola is making Megalopolis while Costner has two Horizon movies in the can. It appears Coppola fully financed Megalopolis himself, though how much Costner has put into An American Saga isn’t fully clear. During divorce proceedings from second wife, Christine Baumgartner, documents obtained by The Messenger (via MSN), shed light on how much the star contributed to Horizon’s budget.

According to court documents, Costner’s salary for acting, producing and directing was $12 million for both movies. The star deferred “most” of his salary for the duo, however, meaning Costner put around $20 million of his own money into Horizon. According to the New York Post, the star also mortgaged a valuable,10-acre plot of land he owns in Santa Barbara, California to help fund the films.

The same New York Post article states Costner is thought to have personally raised about $50 million for the Horizon movies so far.

Horizon Isn’t The First Time Costner Has Put His Own Money Into Passion Projects
Costner paid to finish Dances with Wolves too

Filmmakers are often warned against putting their own cast into projects because there’s a very real risk they won’t get it back. Costner appears to be at peace with this possibility, though if the Horizon movies prove to be unlikely summer blockbusters, he stands to make a lot of money. It’s already been noted Horizon isn’t the first time the star has put up millions of his own money to get a movie made. The first time was on his directorial debut Dances with Wolves, which the press predicted would become a huge flop like 1980’s Heaven’s Gate.

It was even nicknamed Kevin’s Gate, but Dances with Wolves ended up grossing $424 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo) and earning seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Costner himself. During production, Costner put $3 million into completing Dances with Wolves when it overran its initial budget (via ABC News). He later invested some money in The Postman – his 1997 post-apocalyptic flop – and 2014’s Black & White. Costner believed in the latter drama so much that he personally financed the $9 million project; it would gross $21 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo).

Will Horizon Chapters 3 & 4 Happen?
The Horizon sequels have yet to be filmed

Just like James Cameron’s ambitious plans to make four Avatar sequels, Costner is betting big on completing his Western epic. That said, there are reports the actor is having trouble raising finance for the final two entries, with investors no doubt waiting on the box office reports for Horizon Chapters 1 & 2 . Costner’s pockets might run deep, but if the first two installments underperform or outright bomb, it’s unlikely he’ll be willing to finance two more $100 million-dollar productions on his own dime.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Costner has a major fanbase, and audiences just might take to the idea of a sprawling Western tale playing out on the big screen. Movie experiments like Horizon: An American Saga don’t come around often, and for viewers who might be jaded by noisy blockbusters, they could be perfect counter-programming. Costner’s betting on himself to deliver two blockbusters, and he just might pull it off.