Fifteen years after his film debuted and a hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic, James Cameron is bringing his film back to the big screen. Only this time, it’s bigger and better.He may be better known these days for his 3-D science-fiction franchise Avatar, but once upon a time, Oscar-winning director James Cameron spent years and multiple films exploring the tragedy of the Titanic. Long before Cameron and collaborator Vince Pace refined and improved the 3-D camera rigs and technology that brought the plight of the Na’vi and the world of Pandora to life for Avatar, the self-described “techno geeks” were inventing underwater 3-D equipment to capture the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for the Imax documentary Ghosts of the Abyss.
“My Titanic journey began as an explorer of the wreck and segued into an artist’s search to find the emotional meaning of the disaster,” Cameron says. “I find the complexity of the event, which unfolded in just a few hours, fascinating and endlessly compelling — even now, 100 years later. And the wreck site itself holds endless mysteries.”
It has been 15 years since the film Titanic — at the time the most expensive movie ever made — sailed into box-office history. And the estimated $200 million adventure that cemented the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet went on to earn more than $1.8 billion at the global box office and 11 Academy Awards, including Best Director for Cameron and Best Picture. The only film to gross more since? Avatar, which earned $2.7 billion.
This month, Titanic returns to a theater near you, following an $18 million 3-D conversion that required Cameron, who wrote and directed the original film, to spend more than a year painstakingly adding depth to every frame of footage.
“We’d been looking for years for an opportunity to put Titanic back on the big screen, because that’s where it belongs,” he says. “When we started to explore the opportunity to do Titanic in 3-D, I thought the centennial of the real sinking would be the perfect opportunity.”