Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

We've Spent A Lot Of Money Rescuing Matt Damon (In Movies)

Before you read more...
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.


Somebody up there must like you, Matt Damon, because we've apparently spent a ton of money (fictionally) rescuing you.With the release of The Martian earlier this year, the thought that crossed many of our minds was, "How many times do we have to save Matt Damon from another planet?" Kynan Eng set about answering that question in a Quora post, estimating that would come to close to a cool trillion (yes, with a "t") dollars. According to Eng:

Fictional Costs
My estimates, costs are in 2015 currency

Courage Under Fire (Gulf War 1 helicopter rescue): $300k
Saving Private Ryan (WW2 Europe search party): $100k
Titan AE (Earth evacuation spaceship): $200B
Syriana (Middle East private security return flight): $50k
Green Zone (US Army transport from Middle East): $50k
Elysium (Space station security deployment and damages): $100m
Interstellar (Interstellar spaceship): $500B
The Martian (Mars mission): $200B
TOTAL: $900B plus change

Heh, "change."As Vulture points out, Damon's movies have brought in about $3.9 billion (adjusted for inflation, via Box Office Mojo), meaning he's only made back mere fraction of that bus ride home.

Any teacher would write in red ink "SHOW YOUR MATH" on Eng's work, and he has a bit of a confession to make. "I just made them up," Eng, a researcher studying artificial intelligence, told BuzzFeed News. "This is not real research in the sense that I know it."

Support for LAist comes from

"It would be nice to get this type of coverage for my real work," he added.

Is rescuing Matt Damon worth it for mankind? Has he earned it? "Let's say, I think that many of the things that the character is doing are fascinating endeavors which are worth the long-term investment," Eng told Buzzfeed. "It's not about Matt Damon personally."

One commenter on the Quora post suggests we have to set a limit somewhere. "$1 billion minimum," writes Devin Jones. "While I don't believe in putting a price on human life, is too high even for Matt Damon."

Maybe next time we want to send Matt Damon out into the wild, we send the puppet from Team America in his place: