“Titanic: how a film doomed to failure managed to become a cult film

Today, when the niche of box office blockbusters is tightly occupied by comic books, it is very difficult for viewers and readers https://telegram-store.com/catalog/product-category/channels/news to imagine that at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, the most expensive and large-scale film could become a historical melodrama about the sinking of the Titanic in the waters of the world ocean.

It is interesting that, despite the incredible audience success and million-dollar box office returns, many critics and film experts initially predicted the failure of this film. For studio Paramount and Fox “Titanic” practically from the first days of filming became the very real “black hole”, sucking money. The crew and cast were forced to grind at the site of 20 hours a day, and James Cameron was confident that work on this project will be the final in his long career. But still “Titanic” was released on world screens, instantly became the real sensation, which was written about by all the newspapers, said the audience from all over the world.

James Cameron could hardly convince Fox to begin production of “Titanic”. 

Before shooting Titanic director James Cameron had already managed to shoot Alien, the first and second Terminator, which gave him wide popularity in Hollywood. In 1995, he approached Peter Chernin, chairman of Fox Studios, asking for $125 million to work on a new film. After learning what the director’s idea was, Chernin was, to put it mildly, disappointed and at first did not even want to hear about any “Titanic”. But Cameron was persuasive. In the end he managed to persuade the Fox board to shoot and even organize an underwater expedition to the sunken liner. 

From the beginning, James considered the role of the young artist Jack Dawson exclusively Leonardo DiCaprio, believing that, unlike other candidates, he perfectly fits the image. But the problem came out of nowhere. DiCaprio took the offer to audition for the role very lightly. He first long refused to play a scene with Kate Winslet, and when he agreed, he read his words only once, and then began to “fool around”. Subsequently, the actor explained his behavior by the fact that for him the role of the romantic hero was unusual, because until then he embodied on stage only ambiguous characters with a difficult fate. 

Unlike Leo, Kate literally raved about the role in “Titanic” because she was deeply touched by the script. But, according to Winslet, after the first few visits to the set, she realized that she was not ready for this kind of work. From the diary of the actress, which was published in 1997, it is clear that in the production of the film any romance was not even in question. Thus, for example, dresses that looked luxurious in the frame, in fact, did not allow for normal movement through the sunken interiors of the ship.

The global problem with Titanic was its budget. James Cameron originally asked for 125 million, but he was given only 110 million, and that with the condition that the drama will be released in the summer of 1997. In the end, the director had to cut his fee by 4 million dollars. But the project almost immediately began to spiral out of control of financiers. With a planned value of filming at 100-150 thousand dollars a day, “Titanic” cost 225-300 thousand dollars. For maximum authenticity of the picture several tens of thousands of props from authentic forks to ashtrays, brooches and cufflinks. The costumes alone cost almost $8.5 million. 

Chernin believed that he would surely be fired from Fox for the budget overrun and the failed distribution of the film. The closer was the premiere date, the bleaker were the prospects. Cameron also, as almost all the producers believed that “Titanic” is unlikely to recoup the money invested in it, and tried to at least minimize the expected financial losses. As luck would have it, the project was not completed in time for the original deadline, and it was decided to postpone until the end of the year. 

And finally, at the end of 1997, “Titanic” appeared in theaters at home. At the end of the first week, it managed to gross $28 million. It was quite good, but any success was still out of the question. That’s just how time has shown, Cameron and his team managed to create a completely unique film. Viewers who watched it once, after a while came back again to enjoy the incredible “chemistry of Jack and Rose” once again. As a result, for a long time “Titanic” remained the most successful film project of all time, with box office receipts exceeding one billion dollars.