Me and My Nine Iron

January 31, 2011

Gauging Matt Damon’s marketability

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 3:49 pm
Tags: , ,

As I was researching for this post, I had planned it to be about how Matt Damon, while a respectable actor, doesn’t bring in the crowd like some of the other big names. This was because Hereafter was supposed to do great things with Clint Eastwood directing, a $50 million budget and this epic fantasy drama; it had all the pieces of a fall blockbuster. Instead, with Damon as the only recognizable name, it made its wide release debut at No. 4 with a measly $12 million, getting crushed by sequels Paranormal Activity 2 ($41 million) and Jackass 3-D ($21 million), spent just three weeks in the top 10 and needed considerable help internationally to finish at $62 million, a loss when you add in marketing expenses, etc.

I had planned to write about how Damon’s movies, while always well-rated, never live up to revenue expectations and how they need to tone the budgets down, but I was surprised at what I found.

Damon had a busy year last year, turning 40 and cementing his place among the A-list actors in demand. Worth noting is his stock is only rising. If three wide releases weren’t enough to keep him busy last year, maybe four (and an animation) this year will be.

But, let’s take a look at the past three years of work Damon has starred in and how they’ve fared at the box office.

Matt Damon Filmography 2007 – Present
Movie IMDb Rating Budget (in millions) Gross Revenue (in millions)
Ocean’s Thirteen 6.9 85 311
The Bourne Ultimatum 8.2 110 443
The Informant! 6.7 22 42
Invictus 7.4 50 122
Green Zone 7.0 100 95
Hereafter 7.2 50 62

While he might actually be starting a downward streak with his last two, he should garner a healthy profit with a $30 million budget if he’s in a non-sequel, non-ensemble movie. It’ll be interesting to see how Margaret does, however, a movie that was filmed in 2005 but is scheduled to come out this year. Like Hereafter, it’s about an event that affects different people, and the names aren’t much more to get excited about.

But how does he rank with two comparable actors in Ben Affleck and Mark Wahlberg?

First, Affleck. Damon’s hometown friend is a triple threat as a writer/actor/director and has thrived with his personal projects (Gone Baby Gone, The Town). After their sixth movie together, Dogma, in 1999, they went their separate ways, and I’d have to say Damon had the better career and network of players. Damon had the widely successful Bourne series and Ocean’s series while working with Martin Scorsese and Eastwood. Affleck stuck with Kevin Smith and made three more movies with him. While his roles might be less glamorous than Damon’s (blame that on Gigli), he can still bring in the dough in your crime thriller.

Ben Affleck Filmography 2006 – Present
Movie IMDb Rating Budget (in millions) Gross Revenue (in millions)
Man About Town 5.7 10 direct-to-DVD
Hollywoodland 6.6 14 16
Smokin’ Aces 6.6 17 57
He’s Just Not That Into You 6.4 40 178
State of Play 7.3 60 88
Extract 6.4 8 11
The Town 7.8 37 143

Until a couple of years ago, I couldn’t differentiate Wahlberg from Damon. I know, my apologies. To me, Mark was Matt’s lesser-known doppelganger, but today, I consider him one of the most versatile actors and a prize to cast in any genre.

Mark Wahlberg Filmography 2008 – Present
Movie IMDb Rating Budget (in millions) Gross Revenue (in millions)
The Happening 5.2 60 163
Max Payne 5.4 35 111
The Lovely Bones 6.6 65 94
Date Night 6.4 55 152
The Other Guys 6.7 100 169

Wahlberg has the highest rate of box office success among the three (try 100% in his last ten), but overall, they’re all highly marketable with impressive track records. Damon stars in the most critically-acclaimed movies, but it would be a privilege to work with any of them. Ideally, if I were in the crime thriller genre, I would have all three star, Affleck direct and Wahlberg produce. Now, that’s an all-star cast and crew!

Maybe, Wahlberg one day.


ereafter 7.2 50 62
417 1,075


  1. […] Gauging Matt Damon's marketability Similar stories:The Adjustment Bureau movie by Matt Damon. Matt Damon to get roles on The Adjustment Bureau …"Matt Damon – filmography" – Right on! " Matt Damon – filmography " · 2011-03-08 01:05:00 | …Matt Damon interview for The Bourne Ultimatum Link: Matt Damon interview for The Bourne Ultimatum Matt Damon & Emily Blunt's New Movie “The Adjustment Bureau … Matt Damon & Emily Blunt's New Movie “The Adjustment …Friday Box Office: Matt Damon Improves Film-to-Flim, ‘Rango’ Leads Night – The all-star cast of Rango , lead by Johnny … (function(){var d=document,w=window,r=d.referrer,h=typeof(Dhiti)!="undefined"&&Dhiti.isWidgetShown,id="dhiti-dive-6979",u=d.location.protocol+"//"+id;u+="&u="+escape('').replace(/&/g,"%26")+"&rr="+escape(r).replace(/&/g,"%26");if(!h){var e=d.createElement("script");e.type="text/javascript";e.src=u;setTimeout(function(){d.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(e);},10);}else{Dhiti.addScript(u);}})(); Posted under Matt Damon Comments (0) […]

    Pingback by Gauging Matt Damon's marketability | Matt damon — March 8, 2011 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  2. I saw a TV preview for The Adjustment Bureau for the first time, and I have to say it looks pretty cool. Is there some science fiction involved? I thought I saw a door open again, and it was another room, just like The Matrix.

    Comment by BJ — February 9, 2011 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  3. Matt Damon is among best actors to emerge in the last 20 years. He’s alongside Edward Norton, Leo DiCaprio and just a notch below Russell Crowe, Philip Seymour Hoffman (painfully under appreciated), Christian Bale and Daniel Day-Lewis. And no one plays the Everyday Man like Damon – but that’s not to say he isn’t versatile. While I never wanted to see Invictus or Hereafter, his upcoming Adjustment Bureau is currently atop my Must Watch List.

    For a while I felt sorry for Ben Affleck. He was choosing horrible movies and was clearly eating dust in his tacit competition with Damon. But Affleck is beginning to rediscover his groove with good projects, and his future just might be behind the camera. Who knew?

    Comment by Chris Le — February 3, 2011 @ 8:36 am | Reply

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