Dollar for dollar, Matt Damon's the best deal in Hollywood, according to Forbes.com. The website has calculated that for every dollar Damon was paid for his last three pictures, the Cambridge-bred actor brought in $29 of gross income. Not bad, eh? That put the 36-year-old "Bourne Ultimatum" star atop a list of 22 Hollywood heavies. Brad Pitt took second place, with a gross income return of $24 for each dollar paid, and Vince Vaughn tied with Johnny Depp for third with $21. Jennifer Aniston is the most profitable actress with a gross income return of $17. Russell Crowe is at the bottom of the list, averaging just $5 in gross income for every dollar spent on the Oscar winner for his last three films.
Damon earned the top spot mainly through his work playing an amnesiac spy in the Bourne trilogy. In 2004 Universal Studios made The Bourne Supremacy for $75 million--downright cheap for a summer action flick--and grossed $290 million in worldwide box office, plus another $165 million in video sales and rentals. Damon's total compensation for that film was just $26 million, a bargain for Universal. The latest installment, The Bourne Ultimatum, opened in theaters this past weekend with $70.2 million in box office receipts in the U.S., the biggest August opening weekend ever.
In Sydney last night for the Australian premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum, the third instalment in the spy trilogy in which he stars, Damon said he understood why he was at the top of the list.
"Because I'm underpaid," he said. "I think they're using some funny math."
On Crowe's pitiful performance, Damon was sympathetic.
"These things are so crazy, because if you had taken the same people and applied the same formula a couple of years ago, he [Crowe] would have come out on top. If you are on the shortlist, you have made it anyway."
Jason Bourne is a lone wolf who travels exceptionally light. But Matt Damon, the man who plays him, is happiest when surrounded by his extended family. That's why The Bourne Ultimatum star, in town for [tonight's] State Theatre premiere, has found his third trip to Sydney hard going.
"The first time I came to Sydney, I absolutely loved it. So the second time I came, I brought my wife and her daughter and my mother in law and my brother and his wife and their kids,'' he told film writer Vicky Roach.
But Damon and his wife Luciana Barroso, whom he met in 2003 when she was working as a bartender, felt the schedule would simply be too punishing for their 13-month-old baby Isabella.
"I spent my whole life on the road by myself. It's just so different now."
1. Imperial life in the emerald city
3. The end of poverty
4. Revolutionary road
5. The men who stare at goats
I land Matt Damon, who like me had gotten his big break from Miramax. Matt quickly becomes my ally and together we fight to make a thoughtful action movie in an inflexible system. I can count on Matt during some of the darkest hours of production to keep me on course.