Matt Damon Explains How It Feels To Lose Out On “More Money Than Any Actor In History”

Damon admitted that he “turned down more money than any actor in history” during a recent “masterclass” lecture at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cameron reportedly promised Damon a significant ten percent share of the movie’s box office because he was so eager to have him lead his unconventional project. As you probably already know, the film went on, without Damon, to become the highest grossing film of all time, taking in (counting multiple re-releases over the years) $2.8 billion worldwide.

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“I was offered Avatar by Jim Cameron. And after giving it to me, he said, “Now, listen.” I don’t require anyone. I don’t need a designated actor for this. The movie doesn’t really need you, so if you don’t take it, I’ll locate an obscure actor and give it to him. However, if you agree to participate, I’ll give you 10% of the profits.”

When you sum up all the potential lost royalties after the movie made billions, Matt Damon essentially gave up.

$250 million

If you had watched “Avatar,” nothing in your life would have changed other than that we’d be speaking to each other in outer space.

Damon is obviously doing well financially; according to our most recent estimate, his net worth is $170 million. But one cannot help but imagine the agony that would result from passing up $250 million; it would make anyone lose sleep. You shouldn’t anticipate Damon to forget about his disastrous decision any time soon, especially given the rumored existence of many “Avatar” sequels.

Of fact, even though Damon is aware of the pain of lost opportunities, he admits that, despite not having Avatar, he is still succeeding in his chosen field:

“Thus, yes. I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually… That was awful, and it still hurts. But all of my kids are eating. I’m doing OK.”

What are the Largest Acting Paydays Ever?

Bruce Willis currently holds the record for the highest acting salary earned from a single film. In order to appear in movie about dead people by an unknown director, Bruce negotiated a $14 million salary PLUS 17% of the gross revenue generated by a little movie called “The Sixth Sense.” Along with these expenses, Willis got a $400k “allowance” and racked up a $450,000 private aircraft bill while making the movie. Haley Joel Osment, his co-star, received a total payment for the part of $150,000 and delivered an Oscar-nominated performance.

When all was said and done, Bruce received $120 million in compensation for his work.

Other performers have made more money from a single role in several different films. For example, Keanu Reeves earned $260 million from the first three “Matrix” movies and Tom Cruise has earned at least $300 million for his work in the “Mission Impossible” franchise so far.

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