After 25 years of causing debates among audiences, James Cameron has finally responded to Titanic’s infamous door dilemma. The historical romantic drama centered on Kate Winslet’s Rose, an upper class young woman, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack, a poor orphan, who meet and fall in love with one another aboard the eponymous passenger liner in spite of their different social statuses. Co-starring Billy Zane, Bill Paxton and Kathy Bates, among others, Titanic remains one of Cameron’s most iconic movies, having garnered acclaim for its visual effects, direction and the performances from its cast, while also becoming a smash commercial success, grossing over $2.195 billion across multiple releases while becoming the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark.
In honor of the film’s upcoming re-release, James Cameron hosted a Titanic: 25 Years Later panel at the Television Critics Association 2023, in which he finally responded to the movie’s infamous door dilemma, as shared by Decider’s Kayla Cobb.
“Within eight minutes… Jack would have been unconscious in that position” – James Cameron on the Titanic not-a-door situation #TCA23
— Kayla 🐔 Cobb (@KaylCobb) January 14, 2023
Cameron reveals that, despite audiences’ belief that Jack and Rose were floating on a door, it was in fact a piece of paneling from the first class lounge of the ship, already making it more difficult for them both to fit there. The Titanic writer/director also went into detail for the scientific research that went into creating the scene, including the fact that regardless of space, Jack “would have been unconscious” within eight minutes and would have succumbed to hypothermia.
Titanic’s Door Dilemma Explained
The infamous Titanic door dilemma stems from the closing moments of the film’s past storyline, with Jack and Rose taking respite from the freezing cold Atlantic after the ship crashed into an iceberg. Audiences have debated for years whether both Jack and Rose could fit on what appeared to be a door they were floating on, with many calling Winslet’s character selfish for hogging the whole surface for herself while DiCaprio’s was left to freeze and drown. In honor of the film’s 15th anniversary, MythBusters actually took to exploring this debate with the aptly titled episode “Titanic Survival,” in which they determined it would have been plausible for both Rose and Jack to stay afloat on the paneling to survive hypothermia until being rescued, though would have had to use Rose’s life jacket as a way to keep the door buoyed above the water.
Can Titanic’s Re-Release Continue Cameron’s Box Office Domination?
While some may be hesitant to fully connect with Cameron’s stance, despite his being the writer/director of the film, it will be interesting to see if his response to the Titanic door dilemma leads to a big turnout at the box office. Cameron’s classic is coming back to theaters for its 25th anniversary on February 10, this time in a remastered 4K HDR render with 3D and a high frame rate, the same format utilized for Avatar: The Way of Water. The re-release will also mark the third time Titanic has returned to the big screen, with the 2012 3D re-release grossing over $343 million worldwide, though the 2017 re-release grossed less than $1 million domestically.
Should Titanic’s re-release prove to be a success, it would continue Cameron’s recent domination of the box office since Avatar: The Way of Water’s release. With just a month behind its release, the sci-fi epic sequel has already grossed just over $1.755 billion, setting a multitude of box office records, including the highest-grossing film of 2022, the sixth-fastest film to cross the billion-dollar mark, and the fourth to cross said mark since the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it may not have the same weight behind it as a sequel audiences eagerly awaited, Titanic’s long-standing fandom could see Avatar: The Way of Water overthrown.