At present, James Cameron is still celebrating the release of Avatar: The Way of Water, which opened in theaters in December. All the while, another one of Cameron's features is headed to the big screen soon, as Titanic will return for its 25th anniversary. If you were an avid moviegoer during the ‘90s, chances are you know the love story, the tragedy of the unsinkable ship, and the song “My Heart Will Go On” that all came with the epic film. Now, its Oscar-winning director is sharing the honest reason why it “made sense” to re-release the timeless classic this year.
Even today, you can still see Titanic playing in its three-and-a-half-hour glory on most cable networks. But there are plenty of people out there who have not blessed enough to have the chance to see the box-office topper in theaters. While speaking with SiriusXM, James Cameron made a joke about sending the film back to theaters this year before expanding upon how the audience factored into the decision:
Well, I figured that I was probably not going to be around for the 50th anniversary, so why not celebrate the 25th anniversary? We re-released the film 10 years ago with the 3D conversion, quite successfully, and we thought, ‘OK, there's another kind of half-generation of people that haven't seen Titanic in a movie theater and maybe a bunch of nostalgia for, you know, amongst people that have seen it in a movie theater or have always wanted to.
It may seem like a strange concept to spend your Valentine's Day weekend watching a movie about star-crossed lovers attempting to survive the demise of what was considered to be “The Unsinkable Ship,” but there are good reasons why you should. The epic film is a poetically beautiful reminder of what true love looks like. One can still shed a tear when recalling the simple, yet beautiful, vow that Kate Winslet's Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack made to each other: “You jump, I jump.”
In the spring of 2012, Titanic was re-released in 3D. The reviews for this iteration were a little mixed. CinemaBlend's own 3D or Not review stated that the conversion worked better for some scenes more than others. Still, there were those who sang its praises, and people did show up for it. This version may not have hit No. 1 at the box office like its predecessor, but it did take third place in its opening weekend, nabbing $17.3 million in North America. Worldwide, it made $343.4 million, with a huge portion of that coming from China's, which contributed $145 million. Ultimately, the film became the highest-grossing re-release of all time, which is a testament to its staying power.
James Cameron seems to be a director who puts a lot of thought into each of his projects no matter how long the process takes. He went on to tell SiriusXM that the release date for Titanic’s 25 anniversary is no coincidence either:
And then the question was, 'Okay, what's the date?' Well, the date that made sense to me was Valentine's Day, because in the original release, which was 1997 into 1998, we came out a few days before Christmas. I think it was Dec. 16. But the highest-grossing single day of the release was Valentine's Day. [It’s] kind of obvious why, but very unusual for a film that's been in the marketplace for two months to have its biggest single performing day. So it's a celebration of love. It's a celebration of the movie, at the same time, and it's a celebration of the success of the movie as well.
So the question now is whether or not the movie will see similar success today. Well, the chances of the Titanic re-release hitting the worldwide box office at No. 1 seem slim. Though it'll still be interesting to see how it manages to perform in the long run. As the filmmaker indicated, a whole new generation of people are probably eager to check out the ambitious production on the big screen for the first time, and that could be a serious boon for its chances. We'll just have to wait and see just how many are feeling the love when the movie drops again.