25 years after the premiere of “Titanic”, James Cameron explains how Jack could have survived

James Cameron, who directed three of the four highest-grossing films of all time, has little regret. But if I could remake “Titanic,” the film that began its record-breaking run 25 years ago and is back in theaters, there’s something I’d change.

On the eve of the return to the big screen of this blockbuster, now in its anniversary edition, the Canadian filmmaker confessed that he would have conceived the plot differently if he had been able to foresee the outrage of the fans, upset by the tragic death of the hero, Jack, at the movie’s ending.

“With what I know now, I would have made the raft smaller, so there would be no doubt!”he assured between laughs at a press conference on the occasion of the film’s anniversary.

Such is the popularity of the film that there are still debates about the fate of the main character, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Fans insist that Jack could have survived the frigid waters of the North Atlantic after the ocean liner sank. All he had to do was hop on the makeshift raft to save his love, Rose, played by Kate Winslet.

Instead, he decides that the gate Rose is floating in isn’t big enough for two, and sacrifices himself for her to survive.

The controversy surrounding Jack’s death is just one example of how the Titanic story “seems to be endless to the public,” Cameron said.

“There have been far greater tragedies since the Titanic” and its sinking caused by a collision with an iceberg in 1912, he added, citing the two world wars that marked the 20th century. “But the Titanic has this kind of enduring, almost mythical, romantic quality.”

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“I think it has to do with love, sacrifice and death”added the director, pointing out “the men who did not get into the lifeboats to save the women and children.”

Cameron put Jack’s individual sacrifice to the test in a new National Geographic documentary, featuring experiments in an ice water tank with two doubles and an exact replica of the door used for filming.

In “Titanic: 25 Years Later,” the two doppelgangers who took on the roles of Jack and Rose were equipped with various thermometers to measure the rate at which they would fall victim to hypothermia.

The experience revealed that Jack’s tragic fate was not inevitable.

A first test where Jack clings to the door without climbing on it, as in the movie, confirms that he would have died of hypothermia. But a second test, in which Jack and Rose 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, “I could have held out until the lifeboat arrived,” Cameron admitted. “Final verdict? Jack possibly could have survived. But there are a lot of variables,” she added.

The records of “Titanic”

“Titanic” was first released in December 1997 and held the number one spot at the box office for 15 consecutive weekends.

While most movies today make their biggest earnings on their opening weekend, “Titanic” peaked on its eighth weekend: Valentine’s Day, celebrated every February 14.

The epic love story is relaunched ahead of this year’s Valentine’s Day weekend, where it hopes to boost its $2 million worldwide gross to $200 million.

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“I estimate $100 million of our box office is due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s appeal to 14-year-olds,” Cameron joked.

“Titanic” is now the third highest grossing film in history, behind the superhero film “Avengers: Endgame” and number one, “Avatar”, another Cameron film.

But it is expected that it will soon be surpassed by “Avatar: the way of water”, the new success of the Canadian, which has already raised $2.180 million and continues to attract crowds to theaters.

Collectively, these three Cameron box office giants have raked in $7.25 billion, roughly the GDP of Bermuda.

In addition to making its director extraordinarily wealthy, the three-hour “Titanic” has left another important, if controversial, legacy.

“Before ‘Titanic,’ it was believed that a long movie couldn’t make money,” Cameron said. But “Avatar” lasts 162 minutes and its sequel, 192 minutes. “And he’s doing very well,” he noted.

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