We Calculated How Much Matt Damon Was Paid In Every 'Bourne' Movie -- Yes, He's Done Just Fine
By Emily Krauser
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Jason Bourne took in a whopping $60 million at the box office during its opening weekend, but there's another number that's been hogging talks about Matt Damon's fourth turn as the eponymous character: 25.
That's how many lines of dialogue the 45-year-old actor supposedly had in the latest installment of the Bourne franchise, according to The Guardian. Damon, however, didn't even realize he wasn't speaking very much during filming.
"It never occurred to me that I didn't have a lot of lines," he told The Insider. "Starting with the second one in the series, once Franka Potente's character dies, I don't have anyone to talk to. Tony Gilroy, who wrote that movie, said to me, 'You are clear what this means if she dies on page 20? You know that you're not gonna speak much for the rest of the movie?'... That's really interesting. And each movie, I think I've spoken progressively less, and this one, the least."
"For any young actor out there, they should know that it's not the number of lines you have, ever," he added.
Apologies, but right now, it is all about how many lines right now! The best guess is that Damon made at least $25 million for Jason Bourne, based on his salary for The Martian, as per Vanity Fair, and those estimated $26 million turns in The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. That means that the father of four took in a cool $1 million per line of dialogue.
We know that it takes an insane diet and exercise routine, plus stamina we can't begin to fathom, to pull off even the simplest stunts in any given Bourne movie, but we still have just one word for his per-word (25 or 45!) take-home prize: Damn.
As mind-boggling as this haul is, we couldn't help but wonder what Damon made per line for his first three Bourne films (sorry, Damon-less The Bourne Legacy). So for you, dear reader, we went back and watched each one, painstakingly counting every line that came out of Jason Bourne's mouth. It was tough work, but somebody had to do the math. Admittedly, this is semi-subjective, because dialogue breaks aren't always black-and-white. Trust us.
Here is the result:
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Damon racked up a whopping 237 lines of dialogue in the franchise’s debut. Sure, some of those included sentences that consisted of nothing but "thank you" (four) and "yes" (at least three), but he also dropped about 12 of those lines in French and even one in German. And that magic number 25? He hit that well within the 25-minute mark.
At an estimated $10,000,000, according to The Guardian, Damon scored $42,194 per line.
The action-to-dialogue ratio really amped up in the franchise's sophomore outing, proving that Damon's Bourne fits the mold of action heroes being men of few words. This time, however, we heard even more German and even a little Russian, but we also lost Marie (Potente) very early on, so really, didn't we kind of lose out?
Damon speaks roughly 23 lines until (spoiler, 12 years later) Marie gets shot around the 17-minute mark. Due to that whole floating in a green ocean thing and a lot of exposition from Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and her government co-workers, it took the actor until just past the 39-minute mark to get through 25 chunks of dialogue.
But that's not what you really want to know, right? In 2007, Forbes reported that Damon took home a $26 million paycheck for Supremacy. Damon's chit-chat was slashed almost exactly in half, coming in at 118, meaning he earned more five times his per-line payment in The Bourne Identity with $220,339 for movie two.
Reports claim Damon made roughly the same amount for The Bourne Ultimatum as he did for Supremacy, and the amount of words he uttered stayed about the same as well, though a solid chunk of them came out at rapid-fire succession when Bourne was trying to meet up with a journalist named David Ross in a busy terminal in London, England. Plus, he spoke in Spanish, German, and Russian when he wasn't shooting everyone out to get him, and it only took 21 minutes to get up to 25 lines. You go, Bourne!
That means at 102 lines in the third flick, Damon took home a cool $254,902 per sentence.
For a little extra dose of perspective, Damon's estimated take-home for 1997's Good Will Hunting, the breakout role that made him a household name and won him his first screenwriting Oscar at age 27, was $4 million, and his ensemble 2001 hit, Ocean's Eleven, earned him $7.3 million. We didn't calculate how many lines he had in those two classics, but we're quite sure that the former included more than 25 very short sentences.
And, let's be honest, we're never upset when Damon lets his rock-hard bod and killer stunts do most of the talking, but, man, are we jealous of that paycheck.