Matt Damon Walked Away from a $270 Million Paycheck Without Knowing It

Matt Damon has been in the movie industry for a long time. In particular, his career started with the 1988 coming-of-age movie Mystic Pizza. Thus, he’s been working as an actor for more than 30 years!

With his extensive filmography, you’d think he’s accumulated enough riches — and you’re right. Analysts believe his current net worth is at a whopping $170 million. Not bad, right?

But here’s the thing: He could’ve more than doubled his entire net worth if he just did one more thing.

Matt Damon Walked Away from a $270 Million Paycheck Without Knowing It

The Busy Matt Damon

So how did the 49-year-old celebrity earn his money? For one, he received a ton of attention for Good Will Hunting. Here, he served both as a writer and as one of the lead actors. 

The aforementioned 1997 film earned him a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Plus, he was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars. Damon then garnered more praise for his iconic role in Saving Private Ryan.

But most people most likely remember him as Jason Bourne. In four out of five films under the Bourne movie franchise, Damon was the lead actor — and he proved he was a bankable star.

The Busy Matt Damon

From 2002 to 2016, the Bourne films raked in more than $1.6 billion at the box office. He cemented himself as an action star in the 21st century. 

Furthermore, there was The Martian. If you wanted an exciting and gorgeous sci-fi space film, this was it. The movie earned $630 million and critics loved it. Also, he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for this.

A Life-Changing Proposal

At this point, Damon had a ton of money. The Hollywood industry knew that his name alone will attract moviegoers. In particular, James Cameron had his eyes on him. The filmmaker wanted him as a lead actor. But for what?

Well, the talks happened in the late 2000s. Cameron asked Damon if he would like to be in Avatar. The director didn’t need a famous actor, but he was open to the actor taking on the lead role.

Plus, Cameron was quite generous. He was willing to give up to ten percent of the movie’s total box office earnings. But Damon turned it down. That’s how he lost the opportunity to earn over $270 million.

A Life-Changing Proposal

When Avatar premiered in December 2009, the world didn’t know what was coming. The visual effects were unlike anything they’ve seen before. Watching it in 3D was nothing short of groundbreaking.

Thanks to sheer word of mouth, Avatar held on to the top spot seven straight weeks in America. And the rest of the world paid attention. The movie earned almost $2.80 billion by the end of its run.

Prior Commitments for ‘Bourne’

If Damon agreed to Cameron’s proposal, he would’ve received a $270 million paycheck. But he was a good friend. At the time, he was already working with Paul Greengrass and the rest of the crew on The Bourne Ultimatum.

It was funny to learn how John Krasinski reacted to this revelation. When The Office actor realized what Damon had done, he couldn’t believe it. He joked that they would’ve been chatting in space now instead of in the kitchen if he took the role.

Prior Commitments for ‘Bourne’

Thus, he missed out on one of the biggest movie roles of all-time. Still, it proved that he was someone who wouldn’t ditch someone for money. Maybe there’s a chance he’ll have a small part in the upcoming Avatar sequels.