Matt Damon May Return For Bourne 5
If you could get Universal anything for the holidays, it would be Matt Damon back as Jason Bourne. The studio has lusted after him, and rumors upon rumors have spread over the years regarding Damon's return to the franchise. And each time, Damon resists, noting how busy he tends to be, and how he assumes the Jason Bourne story has been wrapped up. But if a recent rumor and schedule change are to be believed, Matt Damon will be Bourne again.
Latino Review has revealed that the reason the next Bourne film has been postponed to 2016 is to accommodate Matt Damon's return as Jason Bourne. The original report suggested the shift in schedule was to be able to get Straight Outta Compton into that August 2015 release slot, but in fact, it's to allow time for Damon to get in shape again as Bourne. Frankly, I think it also has something to do with the fact that Bourne 5 was slated for release in about a year, and very little work had been done on the script thus far. But none of this contradicts itself: if this is true, Universal is getting lucky.
Derived from the Robert Ludlum novels, the three Damon Bourne films were all more popular than the last one, with The Bourne Ultimatum generating $442 million in global grosses. But when director Paul Greengrass fled, so too did Matt Damon, leaving Universal with a hot franchise and no star. The result was a mid-quel: The Bourne Legacy cannily reloaded with Jeremy Renner and savvy writer-director Tony Gilroy, taking place during, and shortly after The Bourne Ultimatum. The results were... middling. Universal gladly took the $276 million global gross of the film, but domestically it was weaker than The Bourne Identity a decade earlier. Universal was, until recently, charging ahead with a Renner-led follow-up, the only trump card being Fast And Furious director Justin Lin.
Since Bourne, Matt Damon has bounced between ensembles and lead roles, smartly managing a diverse career in profitable movies. Latino Review claims that Damon's diminished star is part of the reason why he's doing this, but that doesn't necessarily check out. Greengrass and Damon's reunion was Green Zone, an underrated Middle East actioner that nonetheless was ridiculously expensive and did embarrassing box office. But since then, he's starred in The Adjustment Bureau ($127 million), We Bought A Zoo ($120 million) and Elysium ($286 million). Along with ensemble work in True Grit, Contagion and The Monuments Men, Damon's been doing pretty alright for himself: upcoming projects include the sure-to-be-huge Interstellar and the intriguing-sounding The Martian.
Of course, maybe Damon just wants to be Jason Bourne once more. Bringing the character back likely means bringing Renner's Aaron Cross back as well, allowing for a showdown. Not a ton of people remember The Bourne Legacy fondly, but those who do recall the massive shadow Damon's Bourne character had over the film. If anything, the trailer showing Aaron Cross come face to face with an older, more troubled Jason Bourne (grow a beard, Matt!) should be the moment that entices some fans to jump back into the Bourne saga.
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