Everyone in Hollywood eventually learns that you should never gamble against James Cameron. When Matt Damon turned down James Cameron’s Avatar for 10 Percent of the profit, he learned that lesson the hard way.
Because he was filming the Jason Bourne films, Damon claimed he could not take on the project and made the “moral” choice not to abandon the series.
In an interview at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, Damon admitted that turning down director James Cameron’s invitation to star in the 2009 hit Avatar was his worst professional mistake.
I was offered a little movie called Avatar; James Cameron proposed 10% of it to me,” he recalled. “I will go down in history… you will never meet an actor who turned down more money.”
Instead, Cameron cast Sam Worthington, who was then comparatively unknown but is still involved in the sequels but probably didn’t receive 10% of the original’s earnings.
The final release of James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar sequels is scheduled for December 2022.