Matt Damon has been in his fair share of blockbusters and prestige projects but every actor has a moment when they reflect on roles that they turned down. Damon has been making the rounds promoting his upcoming film, Stillwater, and the actor is talking about why he turned down a role in James Cameron’s blockbuster and Oscar-winning hit, AVATAR.
While in Cannes, Damon recalled the occasion that he turned down Avatar and that it was a decision that ultimately cost him, at least financially. Damon said, “I was offered a little movie called Avatar, James Cameron offered me 10% of it. I will go down in history…you will never meet an actor who turned down more money.” If we’re talking 10% of box office, Damon isn’t wrong. Avatar reclaimed its crown as the all-time box office champion from Avengers: Endgame after a recent re-release in China which sent its worldwide total to $2.8 billion. 10% of that gross would be a considerable windfall but Damon had his reasons for passing on the project.
At the time, Damon was still doing the Bourne movies and he didn’t want to leave them in a lurch by accepting a role in Avatar that would’ve likely kept him away from doing the movies in a timely manner. While the Bourne films weren’t box office kings on an Avatar scale, the franchise was still very successful and they turned Matt Damon from a big star into a huge international draw that could headline a franchise. At the end of the day, Damon’s loss was Sam Worthington’s gain but I’m sure everyone was pretty happy in the end.
Do YOU think Matt Damon was smart to turn down Avatar?