"Rango" finished atop the domestic box office by earning $38 million in its opening weekend, besting the debut of Damon's "The Adjustment Bureau," which collected $21.1 million at theaters between Friday and Sunday, according to Hollywood.com.
Premiering No. 5 on the weekend was The Adjustment Bureau, Universal's drama-romance starring Matt Damon, which took in $10.36 million from 1,981 locations in 21 markets. Universal says the opening weekend figure was the biggest for a Damon vehicle since the $30 million bow 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum, and was bigger than the $9 million opening of 2002's Bourne Identity.
The desire to steer clear of those kinds of movies has been an almost ideological decision on Damon’s part, and for anyone who follows him, it’s a choice with a ready explanation: Chick flicks are Hollywood at its most cheesy, formulaic, corporate, and even embarrassing — for the most part, they’re happy-face gobs of product masquerading as movies — and Matt Damon is not a cheesy guy, and not a formulaic or corporate actor either. He doesn’t make movies he doesn’t believe in. That’s why he’s virtually the only actor of his generation who was able to become an action star and hold fast to his integrity while doing it. The Bourne films aren’t quite works of art, but they’re super-smart about exciting audiences. They’re thrill rides with a vision.
Yet there’s a real paradox to the fact that he has played so many disturbed solipsistic troubleshooters — and it’s not just that he still looks like a shining all-American jock. I’ve had the occasion to meet and talk with Damon a handful of times (going back to before he was a star), and I can testify that he’s one of the brightest, funniest, most down-to-earth and friendly people who has ever worked in this business. I believe — though I can’t prove — that his evolution as an artist, his whole attraction to playing furtive and gimlet-eyed anti-social types, emerges from his perception that if he acted as accessible and friendly on-screen as he is in real life, he might risk looking like a bland actor. To be taken seriously, and to do interesting work, he almost had to become the anti-Boy Scout.
Q: Was it love at first sight?
A: Well, I feel like it was. I don’t know if that’s me revising the memory as I get older, imbuing it with all the subsequent emotion that I felt and all the experiences that we’ve had since then. I feel like if I’m honest, that there was a halo of light around her and I absolutely knew that moment had changed my life before I even spoke to her, but I honestly don’t know whether or not that’s revisionism.
Q: Do you work out a lot?
A: Not if I can help it. I’m doing a Neill Blomkamp movie—a sci-fi movie—this summer where it’s appropriate for the role. But after True Grit I had six months off and then I was working with [Steven] Soderbergh just playing an unemployed guy. It didn’t really require me to be in any kind of particular kind of shape, so I’ve been letting it slide.
Q: So you’ll do it for a role, but you’re not into honing yourself every day?
A: Not for vanity’s sake, no. In fact, the trainer I’m working with now is terrific, and what he talks about is health. I’m becoming far more interested in just functionality and making sure my body is as strong as it can be so I can swing my kids around and not worry about aches and pains. I often found, with some of the Hollywood workouts, they were superficially making me look a certain way but they weren’t making me feel any better.
Q: You are a pretty political animal, and in The Adjustment Bureau you play a politician well enough that I felt, “Jeez, I’d vote for that guy.” Any temptation to jump into the fray?
A: No, no, no. I’m really interested in politics—and I think we all should be—but I’m not at all interested in being a politician, it’s not a lifestyle that is at all attractive to me.
Q: Is it because there’s even a greater infringement on your privacy?
A: It looks to me like one long press junket, you know? The most exciting part of my job is all the problem solving that goes into making movies and all the collaboration and having a project that you’re all working on together.
MORGAN: If you had the power to have some kind of control over your four daughters, would you take it?
DAMON: There's no adjustment bureau in the world that -- yes, you know, it is very challenging and very fun to have four girls. I -- the world is just the -- it's a different place for me. You know, I just -- I love watching how they think and how they engage with the world. And I just love them. It's just fun -- it's fantastic.
DAMON: I turned 40 a few months ago, and I said -- we went out to dinner, my family and some friends, and I said to the room, and I really -- and it occurred to me at the moment, I didn't know what I was going to say, and I stood up and I said, "I think I might be the luckiest man on earth." I really mean that. You know, I really mean that.
MORGAN: And why did you think that?
DAMON: Because I've got the most amazing family, and I've got the most amazing wife. And I've got the most beautiful kids. And I have a job that I love to do. And people that I'm excited to go and work with. And I just -- I feel now like I just want to focus on my health, so that I can just live this life.
MORGAN: What's the secret to a successful marriage in Hollywood?
DAMON: Well, we don't live in Hollywood.
MORGAN: That's one.
DAMON: Yes. I live in New York. That's one. No, I think -- look, it's a personal thing. I think at the end of the day, I wouldn't give advice about marriage. I mean somebody -- I think marriage is -- someone asked do I like marriage -- once and I said I think marriage is kind of a ridiculous idea. What I like is being married to my wife. And that's really what makes the marriage. She does. You know, my whole life works because of her.