Matt Damon has been a Hollywood star for more than a quarter century. Ever since he broke through with 1997’s Good Will Hunting, he’s played all kinds of roles, from quirky characters to action heroes. Whether you know him from the Bourne franchise, Dogma, The Martian, or anything else, Damon has been in tons of successful films, whether they were box office smashes or became cult classics after the fact.
However, it’s Damon’s latest project that will likely be his most lucrative one yet. Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her creative view for the company. She noted that Amazon has a “big, broad audience”—the platform reaches about 250 million households—and that they’re “looking for content that entertains the four quadrants” of male, female, over 35, and under 35. Someone who just about everyone in those four quadrants is familiar with? Michael Jordan. AKA, one of the greatest basketball players ever (or the greatest, depending on who you ask).
And Salke believed Air, the movie about Jordan’s deal with Nike that stars Damon and Ben Affleck was—pardon the pun—a slam dunk. According to an executive at a competing service, Salke merely heard the pitch for the movie and bought it for…
$160 million And with that enormous overall fee, the competing executive made a fairly bold claim about Matt Damon’s salary.
According to the executive:
“Matt made more money on “Air” than any other movie but “Bourne. She [Salke] just took it off the table.”
By our count, here are Matt Damon‘s salaries for the Bourne movies: $10 million for The Bourne Identity $26 million for The Bourne Supremacy $26 million for The Bourne Ultimatum With royalties from DVD, streaming, and merch sales, Damon likely earned about $30 to $35 million from the third Bourne movie, with regular (albeit smaller) royalties still trickling in.
If it’s true that Matt made more money off Air than any other movie but Bourne, it’s likely he was paid $30 to $40 million as an upfront salary when it was all is said and done.
And Matt could use the win.
Matt was famously filming The Bourne Ultimatum when James Cameron approached him with an offer to star in his upcoming movie called Avatar. Cameron added in an incentive; he’d give Damon 10% of the profits for his services. Because of scheduling conflicts, Damon turned the role down. Avatar went on to be the highest-grossing film ever, racking up $2.79 billion across global box offices. Had he taken up James on his offer, Matt Damon would have made more than $250 million. Of course, Damon has still had a very successful career. Though, as he’s said, no other actor has lost out on as much money as he did. Hopefully, Air can help make up some of that deficit.