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Matt Damon News Column
Sydney photos, record opening
  • Photos of Matt at a promotional shoot near Sydney Opera House on Monday are from yahoo. The Sydney premiere is Tuesday night.

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  • The projected three-day total for The Bourne Ultimatum is $70.2 million, with final takings to be announced today. Reports are from the Wall Street Journal, Deadline Hollywood Daily, Rotten Tomatoes, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

    "The Bourne Ultimatum" took in $70.2 million this weekend, far surpassing the openings of both of the earlier Bourne films based on novels by Robert Ludlum.

    "We're really riding high today," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal Pictures, which put out "The Bourne Ultimatum." "The reviews and audiences rated this one the best one yet."

    The second in the series, "The Bourne Supremacy," earned $52.5 million in its opening weekend in 2004, while the first film, "The Bourne Identity," had an opening weekend take of $27.1 million when it debuted in 2002. Universal's research showed that more than 90% of the opening weekend audience had seen the previous two Bourne films. "People just love Matt Damon and (director) Paul Greengrass is a superstar," Ms. Rocco said. "Matt Damon is the new James Bond."

    Though Matt Damon has transformed himself from Pretty Boy to Danger Guy, 57% of moviegoers said he was the main reason for seeing The Bourne Ultimatum, skewing female, while 68% said it was the action, especially among younger males.

    Other Saturday night exit polling showed the movie attracted an audience 52% male and 48% female, made significant inroads with minorities (13% African Americans, 12% Hispanics, 7% Asians), and skewed age 30 and older (57% vs 43% under 30). The vast majority of the audience (94+%) had seen prior Bourne movies and 60% said that was the main reason for seeing the threequel.

    Ratings of the movie broke down to 80% "Excellent/Very Good", 40% "Excellent", and 55% "Definitely Recommend".

    Ultimatum also generated the second largest opening weekend in studio history for Universal trailing only The Lost World which collected $72.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of its holiday debut in May 1997 during what was then the biggest opening weekend of all time.

    "We knew what Paul Greengrass was capable of doing, and Matt's just phenomenal. The combination of those two and producer Frank Marshall couldn't be beat. The exit polls couldn't have been better," U distrib chief Nikki Rocco said. "It equals a kick-ass action spy film."

    "Moviegoers seemed to sense that something great was going to happen -- reviewers and audiences alike rated this one the best one yet," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass and Frank Marshall all delivered, and all the stars just aligned right."

  • Another profile of Paul Greengrass is at the Guardian, including:

    Greengrass expresses great admiration for his star, who once said he might not have signed up for Bourne 2 if Greengrass hadn't come aboard. "I love Matt in it. He's not only a brilliant actor, but also brilliant in that part because he's a wonderful player of duality - you think of [Tom] Ripley and other parts he's played. You don't know which side of that duality he's on at any moment. And that's Bourne: a duality, a killer who's redeemed himself, the man on the run with a dark past, so he's perfect. You couldn't ask for a better actor in the part than Matt."

  • A report on the Locarno Film Festival screening of Ultimatum:

    The European premiere of "The Bourne Ultimatum" -- the third time that a "Bourne" film had its first European screening in Locarno -- produced the festival's first sold-out screening at the 7,000-seat Piazza Grande. Neither Greengrass nor star Matt Damon were on hand, but they recorded a special message in which each spoke some Italian to the crowd. The film was interrupted twice by applause -- once after a long foot chase and fight in Tangiers and again after a car chase scene in New York.

  • Excerpts from an interview today at the Australian AAP.

    "I've never seen anything like this," Damon says. "These are the best reviews of any movie I've ever been on ... in terms of just uniformly being good. There are very few people who are slagging it which is you know ... maybe on the European tour."

    Now on a whirlwind promotional tour for the new film, the affable star speaks with pleasant amazement at the success of a film franchise with a plot so skinny on the surface, but so engrossing to audiences as their conflicted agent faces his horrid past.
  • 14 comments or Leave a comment
    the_grynne From: the_grynne Date: August 6th, 2007 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)
    Tuesday night! That's tomorrow. I wonder if I wander down to George Street, I'll catch a glimpse of Damon.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 6th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
    It's at the State Theatre, remember.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 6th, 2007 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
    I couldn't be happier for Matt. I don't think I've ever heard such acclaim for a third film, except perhaps for 'The Godfather' series.

    Bravo Matt! Well done, lad!

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 6th, 2007 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

    USA Today

    Yet more comments on another sequel at USA Today. Universal really wants this series to keep going...

    Universal Pictures executives hope he changes his mind. "We have not discussed a sequel," says Nikki Rocco, the studio's head of distribution. "But I think this could run like James Bond," a franchise that has taken in $4.5 billion worldwide over its 22-film history.

    Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com says Bourne could survive without Damon, but it would be unlikely.

    "Everyone thought the Bond movies were done when Sean Connery dropped out, so it can be done," he says. "But I wouldn't advise it. Matt Damon is iconic in this role. My advice would be to wait two years, then pay him whatever he wanted to bring him back."
    dissention_1 From: dissention_1 Date: August 6th, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
    That first picture is adorable. I'm so happy for him.

    57% of moviegoers said he was the main reason for seeing The Bourne Ultimatum

    Hopefully Universal takes this to heart and doesn't attempt to make another installment without him.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 6th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I for one would certainly not go to a Bourne film without Matt. Strangely though, I liked the books when I was younger (or rather I liked the character, the books were a little boring) and was upset when they originally cast Matt as I didn't think he was right for the part. I am so glad that I was proved wrong! Funnily enough, I have never liked Bond but went to see Casino Royale just because Daniel Craig was in it! Jan
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 6th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
    These pics. of Matt in Sydney are Hot, he's so handsome love him. I went to see the movie over the weekend and it's great. Matt has proven he's a great actor. Congrats to Matt.

    (Deleted comment)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 7th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
    I would just have to say that Daniel Craig WAS James Bond. The best one yet. And Johnny Depp WAS Jack Sparrow. Both of those guys are incredible actors. Matt does a great job in becoming Jason Bourne also.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 7th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
    Any Matt fans in Australia, just missed him on the morning show, but he will be on "Mornings with Kerri-Ann", if any one is interested on Wednesday morning. I will post anything else that I find.
    Hope this helps Kylie.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 7th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
    Sorry Kylie, I didn't think there would be any readers who could watch the Morning Show interview. He'll also be on the Today Show in an interview with Richard Wilkins Wednesday apart from Kerri-Anne.

    The Morning Show was almost hilariously bad - I only saw the first part of the interview, but local programming meant I was teased for the second half of the interview but didn't see it.

    Matt was shown in a pre-taped interviewed by a female reporter (Kylie Gillies) who spent virtually the whole of the time asking questions about Matt's wife, mother, whether his teeth got chipped in the fight scenes, good that he gets up in the night with the baby etc. Very girly fluffy interview. When they came back to the studio co-host Larry Emdur spent at least 30 seconds mocking Kylie and her questions in a way that American hosts would never do (I suspect) eg "And when you floated down from heaven did you have a soft landing?"

    The second part of the interview was going to be more fluffy stuff, but I didn't see it.

    Local reporting has been awful so far. The AAP interview got the movie release date wrong and claimed that Departed had been a flop. The main news.com.au report says the premiere was last night and thus didn't promote the premiere or venue tonight - misleading all fans.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 7th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)

    Matt's favourite books of 2006

    I missed another interview - Matt speaking with David Koch on the Sunrise morning program (where David admits a man-crush on Matt). The video is available here:

    In the video Matt says he gave his five favourite books of 2006 to friends as Christmas presents last year. The host then discusses the books after the interview, and they are:

    1. Imperial life in the emerald city
    2. Freakonomics
    3. The end of poverty
    4. Revolutionary road
    5. The men who stare at goats
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 7th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks so much for the extra sunrise interview, it completely slipped my mind that Matt was already in Australia, my little girl has been sick so I haven't had much of a chance to check up on whats going on. Maybe it was good that I missed the Kylie Gilles interview, sounds like it was embarrassing. I will definately tape tomorrows interviews thanks for letting me know.

    Wish he was coming to Brisbane lol, and I would love to fly down and see him on Rove, hopefully he will come over here for another movie one day!!!

    Thankyou soo much for all the work you do on here, you really do an amazing job and it is really appriciated.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 7th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
    Thank you. If you see any other shows that Matt is on, or radio interviews, please let me know.
    From: jennaz123 Date: August 7th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)

    Bourne sequel

    Given the success of the franchise, I have no doubt that Universal will have executives scrambling for a way to bring back the character. Personally, I don't think the "missing memory" is the most interesting or necessary aspect of the character. It's the concept of remorse--the idea of a killer who actually feels guilty about killing, despite his prodigious skill at it. With a little creativity, I think a compelling new story can be crafted for this character, despite the resolution of the latest film.

    I'll bet they'll do everything they can to bring Matt back. And given his recent statements, I think he is open to the idea if the script and director are right. Honestly, I would not be shocked to see another Bourne film in the next five years. Universal needs this franchise, and I believe they'll do all they can to make another sequel happen.

    The Forbes article regarding his bankability is an interesting one. I suspect its due, in part, to Matt's willingness to cut his salary to work on projects he wants. Hopefully, though, that article, and the recent success of Ultimatum, will make more studios and directors more eager to offer him the choicest roles.
    14 comments or Leave a comment