Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Thursday Thirteen #157


The movie, not the ship. As we wait to see which film will be named Best Picture of 2011, let's look back on the new classic that was named Best Picture of 1997. (14 years ago! Suddenly I feel quite old.)

1) The movie had been scheduled for release in Summer of 1997, but it was nowhere near ready. Industry buzz was that it would be an expensive flop when it was released that Christmas.

2) Titanic is the most successful movie to ever win The Best Picture Oscar. Movie goers bought approximately 390 million tickets to see it at the theater. That doesn't count sales/rentals of the DVD or subsequent viewings on TV. It's impossible to guess how many people have seen it worldwide. (When you adjust for inflation, Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music both made more money in the US, but those movies weren't as popular overseas as Titanic.)
3) The movie's massive popularity translated into TV ratings. The Oscar telecast in 1998 had a viewership of 87 million in the US alone, the largest ever.

4) It was nominated for 14 Oscars … Tying with All About Eve as the most nominated of all time.

5) … and won 11. Tying with Ben Hur as the most Oscared of all time. (I've seen Titanic more than once, but am somehow not remotely interested in Ben Hur.)

6) Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart have the distinction of being nominated the same year for playing the same character in the same movie. They both lost. Kate to Helen Hunt in As Good as It Gets, Gloria to Kim Bassinger for LA Confidential.

7) The movie studio pressured director James Cameron to hire Matthew McConaughey for the role of Jack, but he insisted on Leonardo DiCaprio.

8) Cameron trusted Winslet to ad lib. Memorable moments he credits to her were Rose spitting in Cal's face and saying to Jack, as the ship sinks, "This is where we met."

9) Obsessed with the real ship, Cameron has taken several dives down to the Titanic. Since the ship was only afloat for four days, Cameron believes it's possible that, over the years, he has spent more time with the ship than her original passengers did.

10) Much of the stateroom is historically accurate, but not the famous staircase. Men were taller in the 1990s than they were in 1912 and if the staircase had been built to scale, the actors would have looked disproportionately big.

11) That beautiful staircase actually was destroyed when literally ten thousand gallons  of water crashed down it. Obviously that scene was shot in one take.

12) The "ocean" that the extras "drown" in was really only 3 feet deep.
They were, however, stuck in it all day long for several days.

13) Originally "My Heart Will Go On" was an instrumental. At first Cameron was adamant about not wanting a theme song. Composer James Horner went to lyricist Will Jennings himself and commissioned lyrics, and the two men had Celine Dion record a demo before presenting it to James Cameron. (And now I will have that damn song in my head all day.)

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  1. And now you've put "that damn song" in my head, and it always makes me melancholy (sad memory associated with it). Thanks for the interesting facts about the movie! My blog

  2. How fun; I haven't thought about that movie in a long time! :)

  3. I was going to say that it didn't hurt that Celine Dion wrote such a great theme song, and then you mentioned it. It was a worthy win movie.

  4. I was a Freshman in high school when that movie came out. I remember all the hype, and while I admit it was a good movie it doesn't really make it onto the list of my favorite movie. Still, it did catapult Leo into mega stardom so that was good.

  5. This has to be one of my favs. :) But I didn't know the bit about Matthew M. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Stopping by to thank you for joining the Thursday Comment Club.

    Have a great day!

  7. I heard Kate once say that the water was like 50 degrees while they were filming. She was in Mexico however :)

    Have a great Thursday!

  8. I didn't know #7 - I may have liked it better with Matthew McConaughey.

  9. Interesting facts! I didn't realize that the staircase was scaled up, or that it was destroyed during filming.


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