‘Titanic’ keeps that sinking feeling alive, 20 years on
‘Titanic’ keeps that sinking feeling alive, 20 years on
Tuesday marks two decades since Rose vowed to Jack she'd "never let go" -- before spectacularly reneging on her promise, sending her frozen-to-death paramour to a watery grave and leaving "Titaniacs" worldwide sobbing into their popcorn.
The anniversary has been celebrated with screenings across the United States, and audiences are still swooning over the young lovers played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet -- now both Oscar winners and Hollywood A-listers.
"The Titanic story itself has a timeless quality. It seems to exist outside our daily lives. As this straight moral lesson, it's something that fascinates us," director James Cameron told fans at a Los Angeles screening to mark the milestone.
Winslet's love-struck socialite and DiCaprio's artistic drifter were fictionalized characters in a dramatization of the real-life sinking in 1912 of history's most famous ship after it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic.
The film, distributed by Paramount at home and Fox abroad, entered into movie history when it picked up 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director for Cameron.
With a worldwide gross of $2.2 billion, it was the most successful movie ever made until Cameron's "Avatar" (2009) took $2.8 billion at the box office.
At an intimidating 195 minutes, the movie can feel in parts as long as the voyage on which it is based, but it earned mostly glowing reviews, and the theme song "My Heart Will Go On" became a global success for Celine Dion.
Cameron, 63, says he sold the idea to Fox executives with "probably the shortest pitch for a major movie in Hollywood history."
"I whipped open this book and in the center is a beautiful double-truck spread right across both pages of a painting by Ken Marschall, the best artist of the subject of the Titanic," he recalled.
"It was a beautiful shot of the rocket going off and lighting up the ship, and lifeboats rowing away as it went down in the more sedate, quiet part of the sinking. I said, 'Romeo and Juliet on that.' Five words."
DiCaprio and Winslet -- then 21 and 20, respectively -- began filming in September 1996, their first scene together the moment in which the actress appears nude for him to paint.
Any awkwardness was short-lived and the pair quickly became close friends, reuniting onscreen a decade later for Sam Mendes's fraught love story "Revolutionary Road."
"They really bonded and they were there for each other through a long, difficult, grueling shoot. They were there to support each other," Cameron said.
The epic proportions of the $200 million production, with its 1,000 extras and crew of more than 800, can hardly be overstated.
Cameron had a full scale model of the ill-fated luxury liner constructed on 40 acres of Mexican waterfront bought by Fox, after receiving the blueprints from the original ship builder.
The rooms were meticulously recreated from old photographs, as was RMS Titanic's first class staircase, mahogany woodwork and gold-plated light fixtures, all of which was destroyed in the sinking scene.
Such was the perceived folly of the bloated production -- then the costliest ever -- that Variety began a daily "Titanic Watch" column, ridiculing what was expected to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history.
A despondent Cameron kept a razor blade taped to the screen of his video editing equipment with an inscription written in pen: "Use in case film sucks."
The movie test-screened to rapturous applause in Minneapolis, however, and Cameron was reassured that he'd actually made a decent movie.
It opened with a domestic haul of $28.6 million and was expected to follow the normal pattern for blockbusters, dropping by 40-50 percent in its second weekend.
Instead, it made another $28 million, and $32 million on the third weekend, eventually securing the top spot for 15 consecutive weeks.
"It just went down by like two percent a week and everybody just felt like we were in this alternate universe where the rules of gravity didn't apply," said Cameron.
Experts theorized that the numbers were being boosted by groups of young teenage girls watching multiple times, but Cameron believes "Titanic" did so well because the love story appealed across generations.
"With all due respect to Kate and Leo, and they're both good friends of mine, it's not Kate and Leo anymore -- it's Jack and Rose," said Cameron.
"And it will always be Jack and Rose. I guess that's what I'm proudest of, that we've created something that has its own reality, that's outside of time, and theoretically that could still be enjoyed indefinitely."
Prince Harry and Meghan arrive in hot Fiji for 3-day visit
- The couple was scheduled to attend a reception and state dinner with Fijian President Jioji Konrote
- They will finish their tour with a four-day visit to New Zealand
SUVA, Fiji: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were greeted by hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers on Tuesday after arriving in Fiji for a three-day visit as part of their tour of the South Pacific.
School children in uniform and people of all ages lined the streets and waved both British Union Jack and Fijian flags as Prince Harry and Meghan’s motorcade drove past.
The couple arrived from Australia, where Meghan, who is four months pregnant, had her schedule reduced in recent days after a hectic start to their 16-day trip across four countries. Meghan has not announced any plans to reduce her schedule in Fiji.
After stepping off the plane, Meghan needed to hold her cream-colored hat to prevent it from being blown away as Harry inspected a guard of honor. There was a light drizzle and an official held an umbrella above Meghan’s head.
The couple was scheduled to attend an official welcome ceremony at Suva’s Albert Park that will mirror one attended by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1953. It was to involve traditional elements of Fijian culture, including dances and a kava ceremony. Members of the public are invited and 15,000 are expected to attend.
The couple was scheduled to attend a reception and state dinner Tuesday evening hosted by Fijian President Jioji Konrote.
Home to just over 900,000 people, Fiji is a former British colony that became independent in 1970 and later became a republic. Fiji remains a part of the Commonwealth group of countries and is a popular destination for tourists thanks to its warm climate and beaches.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women not travel to a number of countries including Fiji and Tonga because of the presence of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which can cause severe birth defects.
There is no vaccine for Zika, and the CDC says the best way to avoid infection for those who must travel is to take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
The couple is scheduled to visit Tonga on Thursday before returning to Sydney on Friday night for the final days of the Invictus Games, Harry’s brainchild and the focus of their tour. The couple will then finish their tour with a four-day visit to New Zealand.