With The Martian only a few days away and it being poised to become one of Matt Damon’s highest grossing films of his career, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the actor’s most popular releases.
So here’s one dilemma I faced while compiling the list, should Interstellar ($675 million) be on here? Yes, Matt Damon is in it but his part is little more than an extended cameo. Another thing is if I put Interstellar in the top 10 it goes straight to the top, moving everything else down one spot, including leaving out Good Will Hunting, the film that got Matt Damon his only Oscar. Also in every single one of the current 10 films he is either the lead or one of the leads. So ultimately I decided to leave Interstellar out. If you don’t agree, well you can just pretend Interstellar is on top and everything else is down one spot, also Interstellar was a great sci-fi (in case that still needs to be said).
Without further ado here are the top 10 highest grossing movies of Matt Damon’s career at the box office, worldwide, unadjusted for inflation.
10. Good Will Hunting (1997) – $225.9 million
For this Matt Damon received an Oscar nod both for the leading part he played as well as writing the drama, taking home the later award of the two, one that he shared with his good friend Ben Affleck. Good Will Hunting was also nominated for Best Picture in 1998, but lost to Titanic. Matt Damon is one of only a handful of actors that were ever nominated for acting and writing in the same year.
9. True Grit (2010) – $252.3 million
Who said westerns were dead? Between this and Tarantino’s Djago Unchained two years later, that’s proof enough they aren’t, you just have to make a good one and people will come. True Grit was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, but sadly won none. This is not just one of the best westerns of the last decade, but probably of the last 50 years, absolutely worth watching if somehow you missed it. In the film Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger who makes up a third of an unlikely band that sets out to capture a wanted criminal.
8. Elysium (2013) – $286.1 million
Neill Blomkamp’s 2nd best film is another R-rated sci-fi adventure with big ideas and despite maybe not fully living up to its potential, I still had a lot of fun watching Elysium in theaters. Part of what made the film work is of course Matt Damon who I don’t think is physically capable of turning in a bad performance, or maybe I’m just forgetting some one-of-a-kind horrible part he played at some point in time.
7. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – $288.5 million
The first of these films, The Bourne Identity, didn’t quite make the top 10 with $214 million (11th), but as you can see the sequel did. That’s actually one very noticeable thing about the mainline Bourne films (so excluding The Bourne Legacy), each one made more than the previous one at the box office. If these films weren’t good something like that would never happen.
6. The Departed (2006) – $289.8 million
Winner of 4 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director (Martin Scorsese) and Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan), The Departed is absolutely up there with Damon’s very best films.
5. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) – $311.3 million
A step up from the previous one and in many ways a decent ending to a trilogy that already jumped the shark three years prior. Yes, it’s still pretty much the same movie as Ocean’s Eleven, but at least in Ocean’s Thirteen Julia Roberts isn’t pretending to be Julia Roberts.
4. Ocean’s Twelve (2004) – $362.7 million
Twelve didn’t just jump the shark, it surfed on the back of said shark all the way to the bank (based on the box office numbers). I won’t pretend like it’s the worst movie of 2004 since I know that would be a lie, but as a sequel to Ocean’s Eleven it was a joke, and not even a good one at that.
3. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) – $442.8 million
Many probably hail this as the ultimate Bourne film, and I’m not going to disagree, it might just be. Thing is for my taste The Bourne Identity is still the best. In 2016, 9 years after Ultimatum, we’re finally getting a new Bourne starring Matt Damon, and I know I’m not the only one eagerly anticipating it.
2. Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – $450.7 million
The first and best of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, also as you can see the most popular of the bunch. Good ensemble heist flick that definitely did not need to become a trilogy. Really if this is the only Ocean’s you ever watched, you aren’t missing anything. It literally was only downhill from here.
1. Saving Private Ryan (1998) – $481.8 million
A no-brainer for this spot, Saving Private Ryan is still, even 17 years later, Matt Damon’s top grossing film. The Steven Spielberg World War II classic was nominated for 11 Oscars (including Best Picture), taking home 5 (including Best Director). In it Matt Damon is Private James Ryan, the only brother of four still alive on the battlefield, which gets him a ticket home. But first Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men must find him.
To close this off we’ll go over a few records The Martian could potentially break for Matt Damon, as well as what it would take for the sci-fi to grab them. Worldwide total is already above, The Martian has to make over $481.8 million (Saving Private Ryan) to top the chart. This one should be pretty easy. What about domestically? Well that’s The Bourne Ultimatum with $227.5 million, which will probably be the hardest record to bring down. Internationally Ocean’s Eleven is king with $267.3 million and I don’t see any scenario in which The Martian doesn’t make more, especially with China pretty much guaranteed to bring in at least $100 million. Lastly we have opening weekend in the US, and that’s again The Bourne Ultimatum with $69.3 million. I don’t think that one is going down either.
What is your favorite Matt Damon film?
One more thing, yesterday I saw The Martian at an early screening (that I payed for) and let’s just say I have a few things to say about it, almost exclusively positive things. I’m not making any promises but there might be some sort of review sometime this week. For now I’ll say it’s a great film, probably the best from director Ridley Scott since Black Hawk Down (2001).