1. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably seen Matt Damon’s latest film, The Martian, by now. Damon plays an astronaut accidentally left behind on Mars who needs rescue.
2. It’s a great film, sure. But didn’t you get the feeling you’d seen it before?
3. The phenomena of Matt Damon playing characters that need to be rescued is REAL. You can even take a BuzzFeed quiz titled “Which ‘Oops, We Forgot Matt Damon’ Movie Are You?”
5. In a Quora post from September that has now gone viral, Eng looked at all the films in which Damon needed a savior. He tallied up the budgets and made estimates for how much fictional cash each rescue cost.
(Side note: He estimated the costs in 2015 currency. Factoring in inflation in the past — and future — would just be…not helpful.)
6. Here’s what he found…
7. 1. Courage Under Fire (1996) — $300,000
Eng estimated that a helicopter rescue during the first Gulf War would have cost the U.S. military roughly $300,000.
8. 2. Saving Private Ryan (1998) — $100,000
A search party for a single soldier during World War II would have cost around $100,000, Eng guessed.
9. 3. Titan A.E. (2000) — $200 Billion
One of the evacuation ships that evacuated Damon’s character Cale from Earth at the beginning of the film would have a $200 billion price tag, according to Eng.
10. 4. Syriana (2005) — $50,000
A return flight from a private security firm from the Middle East to Switzerland would cost around $50,000, Eng estimated.
11. 5. Green Zone (2010) — $50,000
Around $50,000 for a U.S. Army transport back from the Middle East.
12. 6. Elysium (2013) — $100 Million
$100 million for the space station security deployment and associated damages.
13. 7. Interstellar (2014) — $500 Billion
A fancy rescue space ship that can travel through wormholes doesn’t come cheap: $500 Billion.
14. 8. The Martian (2015) — $200 Billion
Lost in space again, Matt?! Fine. Roughly $200 billion to come get you this time.
16. Eng also calculated that the combined budgets for all the save-Matt-Damon films comes to more than $729 million.
So how did he come up with the fictional costs? “I just made them up,” he confessed to BuzzFeed News. “This is not real research in the sense that I know it. It would be nice to get this type of coverage for my real work.”
Eng’s Quora post contains some interesting sidenotes on how he arrived at his calculations, though. Namely, why didn’t he chose to include the Jason Bourne series? “Because Matt Damon does lots of travel at his own expense (he might have lots of frequent flyer points under different identities),” Eng writes. “Or maybe it’s yes, because plenty of money is spent trying to ‘bring him back’ — but the people looking for him don’t seem to be very concerned about his safety.”
17. So, is Matt Damon worth saving? Eng hesitated before answering the question.
“I have to be careful what I say here,” he said. “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.”
“It’s not about Matt Damon personally,” he said.
The grand total is $900,100,500,000. We initially flubbed the maths. Soz.
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