Matt Damon has appeared in plenty of hit movies, including The Martian ($655 million at the worldwide box office), Interstellar ($651 million), and Saving Private Ryan ($485 million), which unlike the other two, is not set in space. Unless there’s an asteroid battle scene that I forgot about. It’s been awhile. Either way, Damon has a keen eye for blockbusters (and a keen ear pop-punk songs in mid-2000s comedies), but he’s not in the highest-grossing movie of all-time. He could have been, though.
“I was offered a little movie called Avatar, James Cameron offered me 10 percent of it,” he told Deadline at the Cannes Film Festival. “I will go down in history… you will never meet an actor who turned down more money.” Oops.
Avatar is up to $2.8 billion after reclaiming its box office throne from Avengers: Endgame. That means Damon could have made $280 million for playing a blue cat-person, but he passed because he was shooting the Jason Bourne movies and made the “moral” decision to not ditch the franchise. The role instead went to Sam Worthington, who probably did not get a 10 percent cut of that $2.8 billion. But he did make enough scratch that he hasn’t had to work much since Avatar came out 12 years ago. That’s the only reason I can think of for why Worthington didn’t pull a Leonardo DiCaprio and become the king of Hollywood. It certainly has nothing to do with his acting…
Damon doesn’t seem bitter about turning down Avatar, but James Cameron should still cast him in Avatar 5. Give the guy who’s worth a reported $170 million a break.