Why Isn’t ‘Yellowstone’ Studio Paramount Involved in Kevin Costner’s Upcoming Western, ‘Horizon’?

by Chris Haney

Recently, news broke out of Hollywood that iconic actor and current Yellowstone star Kevin Costner is getting behind the camera once again for a new Western titled Horizon. Costner will direct, produce, and star in the upcoming Warner Bros’ movie. However, with the Yellowstone lead’s relationship to Paramount, why did the new Western end up at Warner Bros instead?

It’s a fair question since Paramount is responsible for the popular Western-themed television series. Since it released in 2018, fans have flocked to Yellowstone. In 2021, the show became the No. 1 series across broadcast, cable and premium in both physical and digital forms. In fact, Yellowstone‘s fourth-season finale broke cable TV viewing records with more than 15 million total viewers.

With a proven track record of successful big budget Westerns, it raised the question as to why Kevin Costner isn’t working with Paramount once again on Horizon. First off, Warner Bros is the home of numerous classic Westerns, which have a long history at the production studio, including many of Clint Eastwood’s Westerns. Plus, the Warner Bros deal brings Costner back to the studio that used to be his home base for years. So the deal makes more sense than one might think after closer inspection.

Kevin Costner Is ‘Thrilled’ to Bring ‘Horizon’ to Audiences

After two decades, Kevin Costner is finally returning to the director’s chair as Horizon begins pre-production later this spring. The movie will mark the first film Costner has directed since 2003’s Open Range. Costner has worked on the movie for years as a longtime passion project. It’s already drawing comparisons to the 1990 epic Dances with Wolves. That film would earn Costner Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director along with five other wins at the Academy Awards.

Horizon will tell a multi-layered story over a 15-year period that spans before and after the Civil War. The script focuses on numerous characters as they navigate the expansion and settlement of the American West. That includes a perilous journey as the characters face constant threats from natural elements and wildlife. It will also highlight their interactions with Indigenous peoples throughout their journey.

Recently, Deadline caught up with Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich about pairing with Kevin Costner for Horizon. Emmerich said Warner Bros jumped at the chance to work with Costner on his “long-awaited return to directing with this epic Western.”

“Kevin’s ambitious vision for this story is the perfect crystallization of his affinity for the American West,” Emmerich told Deadline.

The outlet also shared a quote from Kevin Costner about the new Horizon film. It shared that Costner is “thrilled to once again re-team with Toby Emmerich and the team at Warner Bros and New Line to bring the expansive story of Horizon, and America’s settlement of the West and all of the aspects that it entailed, to audiences.”