How Much Money Has Been Spent Rescuing Matt Damon?

$638 billion has been spent rescuing Matt Damon.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

jason bourne

Matt Damon may have found himself the face of an action franchise with Jason Bourne, but the star of Good Will Hunting and The Departed might be more well-known for always finding himself in need of saving. From Courage Under Fire to Interstellar, a significant chunk of Damon’s filmography (via IMDb) is about the extraordinary measures to save him from a warzone or a distant planet. Given how often this happens to his characters, how much money has been wasted saving him?

To begin, the first time Matt Damon was rescued was in Courage Under Fire, as Specialist Andrew Illario, part of the crew alongside Meg Ryan’s Captain Walden being investigated by Denzel Washington as Lieuenant Colonel Serling. At the time, 1990, the cost of a rescue helicopter flight is estimated to be $672,000 (adjusted for 2022 inflation levels) the lowest figure out of all of the ensuing rescue efforts made to retrieve Damon.

A more famous war movie, Saving Private Ryan, came out just a few years later, starring Matt Damon as the Private that lost his brothers in combat and, per the guidelines of the U.S. Military, was to be pulled out of combat duty. Led by Tom Hanks as Captain John Miller, a military unit treks across war-torn France to find Ryan and get him home. The cost in lives is priceless, but the monetary value is roughly $1.8 million in today’s terms, as already the costs in these films are starting to add up.

The United States government shelled out for two more rescue flights, in Syriana and Green Zone. Technically, Syriana was a private security flight, but it’s from a military contractor, so for this mental exercise, it’s going to count. Adjusted for inflation, Matt Damon’s flight in both films comes out to $7.8 million, each, putting his Middle-East military career at a cost of $15.6 million for American taxpayers.

It gets worse with The Martian, the sci-fi tale of Matt Damon being left behind on the red planet. At a total cost of $2.5 billion, Private Ryan could be rescued roughly 1,400 times for the same cost of getting one astronaut off of Mars. Amazingly, that’s not even the most expensive rescue done for Damon, and it’s a small fraction of the biggest offender from Interstellar.

matt damon the martian
Matt Damon in The Martian

To his credit, Matt Damon’s characters have been vaguely heroic to this point, but in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, his character, NASA astronaut Mann is selfish and villainous, lying about the planet he landed on to encourage a rescue mission. The total cost of sending a spaceship to the furthest reaches of space is estimated to be $635 billion, but given the nature of the country in the near-future of the film, it could be a lot less following near-total economic collapse.

In just six movies, $638 billion has been spent rescuing Matt Damon. While that’s an eye-popping number to have spent on saving one man, the number spent in reality to make all of these films is also incredible at a cumulative budget total of $539 million. Yet, the public can’t get enough of Damon as the damsel in distress, with the films bringing in $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office.

It’s been a few years since Matt Damon has had to be rescued, with the most recent of this highly-specific genre, The Martian, arriving in 2015. The movie-going public is due another film rescuing Damon, perhaps this time from a boat, off of a deserted island, or following a plane crash. His next major film, Oppenheimer, reunites him with Christopher Nolan, but it’s also not going to feature an expensive, dramatic rescue, so how good will it really be?