December 18, 2007

Titanic: 10 Years On

I could get a lot of grief for this, but I thought I would take the occasion to discuss the 10 year anniversary of the highest-grossing and most awarded film in the history of the world. Titanic dwarfs most other movies like the actual ship would have dwarfed a canoe. It grossed over $1.8 billion worldwide and was nominated for 14 Oscars, of which it won 11, a total that tied it with Ben-Hur and later on with LOTR: The Return of the King, which is second on the highest-grossing list - and over $700 million behind Titanic. Keep in mind Titanic didn't have the advantage of millions of hobbit fanboys, either.

I saw
Titanic on Christmas night, 1997, at the old Har-Mar theater. Turns out I wasn't the only one. Opening in a modest 2,600 screens, it would go on to be the #1 film in the country until April of 1998. If you don't follow these kinds of things you might not realize the magnitude of this - most blockbusters are lucky to be #1 for two weeks straight, let alone 15. (In 2007, 3 weeks was the longest streak). Even after Titanic was eventually knocked to second by (great trivia question) Lost in Space, it remained in packed theaters through the summer of 1998 (when I happened to see the musical "Titanic" on Broadway = awful). I remember people in school talking about having seen Titanic in the theater15-20 times. Wow. I think I only made it twice. That being said...I actually like the movie. Yep, I do - a lot.

First of all, the special effects were breathtaking - I hadn't heard gasps like that from the audience since seeing the dinosaurs for the first time in Jurassic Park (still probably one of the most amazing moviegoing experiences ever). Secondly, it was a great story - a major historical event told through the eyes of a likable participant. Third, it launched the careers of two of the most talented stars in Hollywood right now - Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, each of whom has two Best Actor/Actress Oscar nominations within just the last three years. That's ridiculous.

Lastly, Titanic is everything you would ever want from a blockbuster. Simply stated, it's why you go to the theater, and it was certainly worth the price of admission. I know most people can't stand it and James Cameron is jerk and it went way over budget and blah blah blah, but if wasn't for productions like it, you wouldn't go to the movies - nor would you even be reading this.

I'm surprised more isn't being made of its anniversary, to be honest. A DVD boxed set or something? I guess it had its marketing run, but I thought somebody would try to cash in. Maybe I'll just look for it on TV to witness film history again.

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