Matt Damon lost 'eye-watering' amount of money by rejecting Avatar

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  • Matt Damon
    Matt Damon
    American actor
  • James Cameron
    James Cameron
    Canadian film director
  • Sam Worthington
    Sam Worthington
    Australian actor

This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series. It was originally published in 2019.

Matt Damon has revealed that turning down the lead role in Avatar cost him $250 million (£204 million).

Director James Cameron offered the Hollywood star 10% of the profits from his 2009 science fiction epic if he accepted the part of Jake Sully. However, the 48-year-old declined the offer, and the role went to Australian actor Sam Worthington, who also starred in the Clash Of The Titans remake and Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge.

After its US release on this day in 2009, Avatar made $2.79 billion (£2.28 billion) at the global box office, meaning Damon could have earned upwards of a quarter of a billion dollars.

He told British GQ that Cameron invited him onto the film, but warned he could easily replace him with an unknown actor. Speaking in conversation with Christian Bale, his co-star on forthcoming film Le Mans '66, the actor said: "Jim Cameron offered me Avatar.

"And when he offered it to me, he goes: 'Now, listen. I don't need anybody. I don't need a name for this, a named actor. If you don't take this, I'm gonna find an unknown actor and give it to him, because the movie doesn't really need you.'

He added: "I told (film-maker) John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land. We're writing this movie about fracking.

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"We're writing in the kitchen and we're on a break and I tell him the story and he goes: 'What?'

"And he stands up and he starts pacing in the kitchen. He goes: 'OK. OK. OK. OK. OK.'

"He goes: 'If you had done that movie, nothing in your life would be different. Nothing in your life would be different at all. Except that, right now, we would be having this conversation in space.'

"So, yeah. I've left more money on the table than any actor, actually.”

The Hollywood A-lister previously revealed he turned down Avatar due to a scheduling clash with his other films The Bourne Ultimatum and The Green Zone.

There are currently four Avatar sequels in the pipeline at 20th Century Fox with Sam Worthington returning as Jake Sully. Avatar 2 is scheduled for release in December 2022, but has been repeatedly hit by delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full conversation in British GQ.

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