Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are returning to the Jason Bourne franchise for another movie.
The Times has confirmed news first reported by E! this weekend. Damon said the film would come out in 2016 and indicated he was eager to work with the director again. “Paul Greengrass is going to do another one,” Damon told E! “I just needed him to say yes.”
It will be their third film together. The previous two, the second and third “Bourne” titles, grossed a combined $730 million worldwide.
When the news broke in September that Damon and Greengrass were in negotiations to reunite for another installment of Universal’s franchise, people were surprised. As The Times reported then, the pair had all but ruled out a new film over the years, saying the third Bourne film — 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” in which the amnesiac super-spy regains his memory — left little more they could do with the character.
The fourth film, 2012’s “The Bourne Legacy,” had a different protagonist (agent Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner) and a different director (Tony Gilroy, who also was a screenwriter on all four films). It received mixed reviews and grossed $276 million worldwide.
The fifth film was originally scheduled to open next year, but this spring it was pushed back to July 15, 2016. Under the original plan, Renner was to star, and “Fast and Furious” veteran Justin Lin was to direct.
Now Renner won’t be in the movie. “He is not doing Bourne with Matt Damon,” publicist Susan Patricola told The Times. He will, however, continue working with Universal on an Aaron Cross film, she said.
Why did Damon and Greengrass decide to return to the franchise after so many years away? Their representatives could not be reached for comment, but The Times recently explored some possibilities.