Is Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 The Start of a New Golden Era for Westerns? Image

Is Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 The Start of a New Golden Era for Westerns?

By Film Threat Staff | June 15, 2024

Western movies have never completely gone away, but there’s no doubt that their golden age lies in the past. The release of the first chapter of Horizon: An American Saga in 2024 means that this is a good moment to consider the impact of this genre in the entertainment industry and whether it’s set for a major comeback this year.

The History and Ongoing Popularity of the Western Theme

The first movies about the American Frontier appeared at the end of the 19th century and became increasingly popular until reaching their golden age in the 1940s through to the 60s. More modern movies like Django Unchained and Killers of the Flower Moon have helped them reach a new audience, while the genre has also reached other parts of popular culture, TV shows like Outer Range and Walker have proved popular in recent years, with the second season of the Billy the Kid series recently premiering on MGM+.

We can see Western characters and settings in paintings by artists like Albert Bierstadt and George Winter, with modern exhibitions taking place around the US and further afield. The Western theme also crops up in other places like the current range of Slingo games online. Bandits and other frontier characters appear in the bonus round on Slingo Money Train, where the player tries to collect prizes. The train robbery setting in this game is seen in various movies in the genre, although it’s given a twist here as part of a gambling game that mixes bingo and slots gameplay.

What Do We Know About Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1?

This project has been brought to life by Kevin Costner, who co-wrote, produced, and directed it, as well as starring in the role of Hayes Ellison. Described as his passion project, Horizon is a four-movie series that Costner has put $38 million of his own money into after leaving Yellowstone to make it.

Set in the period before and after the American Civil War, Horizon also stars Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, and Luke Wilson. Chapter 1 will be released in movie theaters on June 28, followed by the second installment on August 16. Chapter 3 is currently being filmed and the fourth movie in the series is currently in the development stage.

The first installment received a positive reception at its premiere during the Cannes Film Festival, but some critics suggest that the fact it’s part of a series makes it seem that not a lot happens while the scene-setting and character introduction is carried out. This BBC review mentions that the movie feels like a long pilot episode for a TV series rather than a fully-formed movie.

What Happens Next?

Costner is said to be convinced by the power of the story told in Horizon but faces an anxious wait to see how well it’s received by the public. With at least one sequel seemingly guaranteed for release this year, Horizon: An American Sage is certain to provoke a lot of debate while putting our focus back on the Western genre once more.

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