Titanic: Romance and Tragedy in 3D

The epic romance and disaster film Titanic, directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, was first released in theaters on December 19, 1997. At the time, Titanic was the most expensive feature film, with a production budget of $200 million. The film grossed $600 million domestically and over $1.8 billion worldwide. It also swept awards including Best Film and Best Director of the 70th Academy Awards and the 55th Golden Globe Awards in 1998. To memorialize the 100th anniversary of the real ship’s tragedy, Titanicwill come back to theater in 2D, 3D and IMAX versions on April 4th.

    1997            2012

In October of last year, Titanic’s domestic distributor, Paramount Pictures, showed eighteen minutes of 3D film footage in special screenings in Hollywood. Paramount also held free Valentine’s Day screenings in 44 selected cities. Recently, it even moved up its release date from April 6th to April 4th in order to launch ahead than its competitors.

Are people excited about the re-release in 3D? Perhaps less so, since they are converting the film from 2D to 3D, as with the Lion King, Beauty and The Beast, and Star Wars. What do converted 3D films really sell to the audience?

Director James Cameron had claimed in the past that he didn’t like the idea of 3D conversion, and that if the technology had been developed earlier he would have definitely shot Titanic in 3D. In order to have the best outcome, therefore he and 300 artists spent 60 weeks and $18 million on the converting process, without editing a single frame of the original cut. Viewers of the special 18 minutes footage made complimentary comments about the 3D conversion process. Even so, Cameron still maintains that the re-release of Titanic is in 2.99D instead of real 3D.

In a short featurette, available on the official Titanic re-release website, James Cameron discusses the conversion process and the profound meaning of Titanic. Cameron notes that the conversion not only changed the film into 3D, but that “3D definitely enhances small human interactions,” intensifying the intimate moments, making them more compelling to audience. “Titanic always has something for you, not matter what’s your age,” says Cameron. For those who saw Titanic before, there will be an element of nostalgia, but in 3D. For those who have never seen the film, it will be a moving and powerful new experience.

Sheng Zhang

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