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Matt Damon Recalls Turning Down Avatar Despite Being Offered 10% Of Profits

July 11, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Matt Damon

Matt Damon could have been a very rich man, but he turned down Avatar despite being offered a hefty amount of the profits. Damon famously was offered the lead role of the James Cameron blockbuster, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Speaking in his Cannes Film Festival masterclass (per Deadline), the actor revealed just how much it cost him to say no.

“I was offered a little movie called Avatar, James Cameron offered me 10% of it,” Damon said. “I will go down in history … you will never meet an actor who turned down more money.”

Damon was shooting the Bourne films at the time and would have had to exit the franchise to do so, which he didn’t want to do. He noted that he told John Krasinski about the offer and recalled that the A Quiet Place actor/director replied, “Nothing would be different in your life if you had done Avatar, except you and me would be having this conversation in space.”

Avatar grossed $2.8 billion worldwide and is, thanks to a 2020 rerelease, once again the highest-grossing movie worldwide of all-time, about $50 million above Avengers: Endgame. Sam Worthington took the role Damon was offered, though he did not get the same generous profit-sharing terms. There are several sequels in the works with principle filming on Avatar 2 complete. It’s scheduled to arrive on December 16th, 2022.

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Avatar, Matt Damon, Jeremy Thomas