Movie Stars: Damon, Matt–Career Worst Year, Artistically and Commercially

The worst year in the otherwise impressive career of Golden Boy Matt Damon must have been 2017.

Like his contemporary Will Smith (who’s two years younger), Damon, who is 48, is no longer a reliably popular or bankable star.

Damon had appeared in three bad movies in 2017–The Great Wall, Suburbicon, and Downsizing–all artistic and commercial flops.

Who’s to blame? What factors are responsible? Poor choice of roles? Bad management by agents? Tough luck?  Coincidence?

In 2013, Damon starred in the science fiction film Elisyum (2013), opposite Jodie Foster, in which he played former car-thief-turned-factory-worker Max DeCosta.  Artistically, the film was mediocre, a step down from the director of District 9.

In the same year he also appeared in the sci-fi movie The Zero Theorem by Terry Gilliam.

In 2014, Damon starred in Clooney’s The Monuments Men, which despite a stellar cast, was a disappointingly flat picture.

With the exception of playing astronaut Mark Watney, in Ridley Scott’s 2015 The Martian, which was a huge hit, all of his film roles since then were frustrating.  Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, The Martian earned Damon the Golden Globe Award and his second Best Actor Oscar Award nomination for Best Actor.

In 2016, Damon reprised his role in the successful franchise Jason Bourne, reuniting with director Paul Greengrass.

Damon played the lead role in acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall, another disappointing film at the domestic box office. The film, and the casting of a white star like Damon, were criticized in some circles

Arguably, he was miscast in George Clooney’s 1950s noir satire Suburbicon, opposite Julianne Moore, with whom he had no chemistry.  Premiering at the Venice Film Fest, Suburbicon bombed at the box-office when released in October.

Damon’s latest vehicle, Alexander Payne dramedy Downsizing, opened miserably–$425,000 from Thursday previews at approximately 1,900 locations.

The movie expanded to 2,668 sites on Friday and wound up sixth place with $2 million (preview grosses).

That gives it a disastrous $6.9 million projection for the four days.

The picture is a huge loss for Paramount, in what’s the worst year in the studio’s history–Suburbicon and mother! were both critical and commercial flops.

The meager taking for “Downsizing’s” $68 million budget for the film produced by Megan Ellison, Mark Johnson, Payne, and Jim Taylor.

It’s a very bad combination when neither critics nor audiences like a movie: It got C CinemaScore from viewers.

Reviews for Downsizing, which world premiered at the Venice Film Fest to mixed response, before playing at Telluride, have also been negative, with a 52% Rotten Tomatoes score.