Kevin Costner Mortgaged His $145 Million Santa Barbara Estate To Self-Finance Upcoming Western Passion Project “Horizon”


Kevin Costner has been trying to get a passion project Western called “Horizon” produced since the late 1980s. Production came extremely close to getting off the ground with Disney back in 2003, but the deal fell apart when Kevin and the studio could not agree on a budget. Turns out, their respective budgets were off by $5 million.

Over the next two decades, Kevin would periodically return to the script with his co-writer Jon Baird, always hoping to find a major production partner. That match never happened. But Costner did not give up.

Without a major studio willing to finance the project, Costner finally just decided to pay for it himself. The end result is a two-part film titled “Horizon: An American Saga.” Chapter 1 just premiered on Sunday night to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Chapter 1 will be widely released widely on June 28, 2024. Chapter 2 will be released on August 16, 2024.

In a wide-ranging interview with GQ, Costner denied the crazy rumors that he spent $20 million of his own money to fund production. Totally crazy. Who would do that? Come on. Get out of town. The actual number?

$38 million 🙂

And it might surprise you to learn that even extremely rich hundred-millionaires need to get creative financing when they want to fund a passion project…

(Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking with GQ:

“I know they say I’ve got $20 million of my own money in this movie. It’s not true. I’ve got now about $38 million in the film. That’s the truth. That’s the real number.”

Kevin further revealed that he and his now ex-wife agreed to mortgage their ten-acre oceanfront property near Santa Barbara to get the cash.

You may be wondering why a guy – who we estimate has a net worth of $250 million – needs to take out a mortgage to get $38 million. The simple answer is that even extremely rich people are not typically THAT liquid. For Kevin in particular, much of his net worth is relatively non-liquid real estate assets. For example, Kevin owns a 160-acre property in Aspen, Colorado, which features several homes and two large lakes and is surrounded by a national forest that can not be developed. According to a filing during their 2023 divorce proceedings, Kevin’s ex-wife claimed that he was once offered $250 million for the property, but turned it down.

The property in question that was apparently mortgaged to finance “Horizon” is Kevin’s 10-acre beachfront home in Carpinteria, California. Acquired over three transactions, the latest of which occurred in 2017 when he paid $7.3 million for a neighbor’s home. During their divorce, it was estimated that the Costner Carpinteria house could be worth as much as $145 million, based on similar comps.

Kevin’s divorce from ex-wife Christine Baumgartner was finalized in February of this year. They had been married for 18 years, but according to Costner, this “crazy” financial gamble had nothing to do with the dissolution. He now pays his ex $63,000 per month just in spousal support. He also pays child support for their three children under the age of 18.

Will Kevin’s gamble pay off?

If it does, it could result in a massive financial windfall. Let’s use Mel Gibson’s experience in 2004’s “The Passion of the Christ” as an example. Mel Gibson famously put up $45 million of his own money to make “Passion.” Before the film was released, Mel struck a distribution deal with a company called Newmarket Films. The deal left Newmarket and Gibson each owning 50% of whatever profits were generated. In the end, Mel made $150 million just off the box office performance. He then earned another $75 million from DVD sales. When he struck his deal with Newmarket, Mel kept Merchandising rights for himself. “Passion” ended up selling enormous amounts of merch, earning him another fortune. Total it all up, and Mel Gibson grossed over $400 million off “The Passion of the Christ.” An amount that still stands as the largest single payday in Hollywood history for an actor/director or producer from a single project. Hopefully Kevin sees a similar result… or at the very least makes his money back so he doesn’t lose his home!

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