Long Range Forecast: HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA and A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE Close Out June

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Long Range Forecast — June 28, 2024

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 | Warner Bros.
Domestic Opening Weekend Range: $20– $40M (as of 5/28)

All bets are off when it comes to making sense of the forecasting around Kevin Costner’s upcoming Horizon saga, launching in late June with Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1. A long-gestating project for Costner, who helped finance the first two installments of this epic tale where he acts as producer/co-writer/director/star, Horizon stands out as the biggest wildcard at the summer box office.

Horizon is a rarity in contemporary Hollywood: a big-budget, ensemble-driven, studio-released Western—currently planned to unfold over four feature-film installments. Warner Bros.’ theatrical strategy has the first two chapters of the Horizon saga bookending the summer; Chapter 2 is scheduled to hit theaters this August. Costner hasn’t been shy about relaying his ongoing attempts to secure financing to shoot the final two chapters of the series, but it looks like the fate of this epic will depend to the first installments’ results at the box office.

Let’s start with the positive: Costner is coming into the release of these two films amid a career renaissance. The wildly successful TV series “Yellowstone” is also a Western (albeit one set in the present day) with a large ensemble cast featuring Costner. It was the second most-watched show of the 2022-23 season, trailing only Sunday night football, and it cracked the top 100 during the 2023-24 season solely on the power of re-runs. While viewership numbers and box office figures aren’t a 1:1 comparison point, the popularity of the show—which has spawned two spinoffs since its 2018 debut—could mean good things for Horizon…if fans of the show turn out to support the film. Whether or not they do will depend in large part on Costner, who gave an emotional introduction to the trailer at this year’s CinemaCon, speaking to the gathered exhibitors about his love of the Western genre and the years of effort, energy, and money he put into making Horizon happen. Costner hitting the pavement in support of his passion project could go a long way towards bringing “Yellowstone” fans to cinemas for at least one installment.

Plenty of factors give us pause, however, and we don’t have to look very far to point out some concerns going into the release of Horizon: Chapter 1. Costner found early success in the producer/director/star position within the Western genre with 1990’s Dances with Wolves. However, he has yet to see a similar breakthrough success with general audiences in his subsequent passion projects. The 1997 post-apocalyptic neo-western The Postman failed with critics and audiences alike, while 2003’s Open Range was a modest performer with an August release.

Moreover, the Western genre has yet to be a cross-quadrant offering in recent years. The last two recent examples of successful period Westerns are the Coen Bros.’ 2010 release True Grit ($171M) and Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 revisionist Western Django Unchained ($162M). Disney’s 2013 The Lone Ranger failed to meet the studio’s franchise ambitions ($89M), while Antoine Fuqua’s 2016 re-imagining of The Magnificent Seven was a modest September performer ($93M) for Sony. Westerns have fared better at home than at the cinema in recent years, with the success of television’s “Yellowstone” (and its spin-offs), “Westworld,” and the famous “Red Dead Redemption” video game series. There is no guarantee the genre’s current appeal will carry over to cinema visits.

A film like Horizon wouldn’t typically be burdened with grand box office expectations—but it’s in the awkward position of having to launch a sequel in August…and lock down financing for another two films. As a result, the first film’s box office performance is likely (and unfortunately) to overshadow how it is thought and spoken about in its theatrical release.

A Quiet Place: Day One | Paramount Pictures
Domestic Opening Weekend Range: $45– $55M (as of 5/28)

The third film in the Quiet Place franchise, prequel A Quiet Place: Day One represents a shake-up for the series, with director Michael Sarnoski (Pig) stepping in for John Krasinski, who helmed the first two installments. The film also introduces a new cast (mostly—Djimon Hounsou is in A Quiet Place Part II and Day One) and a new setting to the post-apocalyptic series, relocating the action to a Manhattan besieged by aliens with super-hearing.

Previous Quiet Place films have set a consistent benchmark for performance at the domestic box office. 2017’s A Quiet Place opened to $50M ($188M domestic total) in the pre-pandemic era, while 2021’s A Quiet Place Part II ushered in the post-pandemic era with a $47M debut ($160M domestic total). We’re currently forecasting this prequel to perform along those lines, with recent examples of post-pandemic franchises like Godzilla x Kong and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes over-performing their pre-2020 predecessors.

However, the recent box office struggles of another prequel with a new cast—Warner Bros.’ Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga—give us cause for concern. A big part of the success behind A Quiet Place and its first sequel was due to star Emily Blunt’s performance. Without that factor, we’ll be left to wager on how much of the audience’s interest in this franchise rests on the monsters alone.

Tracking Updates [as of 5/28]

Release DateTitleOpening Weekend RangeDistributor
6/7/24Bad Boys: Ride or Die$50-$70MSony
6/7/24The Watchers$12-$20MWarner Bros.
6/14/24Inside Out 2$70-$100MDisney
6/21/24The Bikeriders$8 – $15MFocus Features

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