Titanic: “Jack could have survived”, recognizes James Cameron for the 25th anniversary of the film

Canadian director James Cameron. MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS

On the eve of this blockbuster’s return to the big screen in an anniversary edition, the director confesses that he would have conceived this drama differently, had he been able to foresee the indignation of the fans.

At 68, James Cameron has few regrets as a director: his career has led him to produce three of the four biggest hits in world cinema, including the essential titanic , which celebrates its 25th anniversary. But on the eve of the return to the big screen of this blockbuster, in an anniversary edition, the Canadian confesses that he would have conceived this drama differently, if he had been able to foresee the indignation of the fans, outraged by the tragic death of the hero, Jack, at the end of the movie. “Given what I know now, I would have made a smaller raft, so there was no doubt!”he laughs.

A quarter of a century after its release, debates are still raging among fans. Many insist that the chilled lover embodied by Leonardo DiCaprio should never have died after the sinking of the liner. All he had to do was get on the improvised raft to save his sweetheart, Rose. Instead, the sweetheart decides that the door that Kate Winslet’s character is floating on isn’t big enough for two, and sacrifices herself to save it from the freezing waters of the North Atlantic.

THE titanic has this kind of enduring, almost mythical, romantic quality

james cameron

The ongoing controversy surrounding his death is just one example of how the story of the Titanic ‘seems to never stop for the public’estimated James Cameron during a press conference before the return of the film on the big screen this week. “There have been far greater tragedies since the titanic» and its shipwreck caused by a collision with an iceberg in 1912, he adds, mentioning the two world wars that mourned the 20th century. “But the titanic has this sort of enduring, almost mythical, romantic quality to it.” “I believe it has to do with love, sacrifice and death”adds the director, pointing “the men who did not board the lifeboats so that women and children could survive”.

For the 25th anniversary of the film, released in December 1997, the director tested the theory of the fans, thanks to a life-size test in a pool of icy water, with two stuntmen and an exact replica of the door used for the filming . During this performance, performed for a documentary made by National Geographic, the two extras taking over the roles of Rose and Jack were equipped with several thermometers to measure the speed at which they would be victims of hypothermia. Experience revealed that Jack’s tragic fate was not inevitable.

Final verdict? Jack could have possibly survived. But it depends on many variables

james cameron

A first test where the wanderer clings to the door without climbing on it, as in the film, confirms that he would have died of hypothermia. But a second test, where the stuntmen manage to balance on the door to keep their torsos – and therefore their vital organs – out of the water, suggests that Jack could have been saved. In this scenario, “he might have been able to hold on until the lifeboat arrived”admits the director. “Final verdict? Jack could have possibly survived. But it depends on many variables”.

For its return to theaters a week before Valentine’s Day, this tragic love story does not include an alternative ending. That shouldn’t stop it from adding to its dizzying box office receipts: with $2.2 billion at the global box office, titanic is the third highest-grossing movie ever in theaters, behind the superhero film Avengers: Endgame and another juggernaut by James Cameron, Avatar. By including the second part of the saga, Avatar: The Waterwaycurrently in theaters and whose receipts will soon exceed those of titanic James Cameron collected with his three biggest films 7.25 billion dollars, that is to say the equivalent of the GDP of Bermuda.

Before titanic, the doxa (…) wanted a long film not to be able to make money

james cameron

Figures that the director strives to put into perspective. “I grant you only 100 million from our box office (on titanic) is due to the charm of Leonardo DiCaprio on 14-year-old teenage girls”, he jokes. Beyond having made his fortune, titanic and its three hours above all left another legacy. “Before titanic, the doxa (…) wanted a long film not to be able to bring in money”, notes James Cameron. The blockbuster proved otherwise, paving the way for the first Avatar and its acclaimed three-hour eco-fable. The second part of the saga now lasts “three hours and twelve minutes”emphasizes James Cameron. “And he’s been very successful.”

TO HAVE ALSO – “The Night where Laurier Gaudreault woke up”: Xavier Dolan “manages to film the pain like no one”, praises François Aubel

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