LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 13: James Cameron arrives at the AFI Awards Luncheon at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 13, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)
Movies - TV
Hollywood Doubted Titanic In A Huge Way Before Its Release
The box office success of “Avatar: The Way of Water” proved that James Cameron continues to defy naysayers and deliver blockbuster films. “Way of Water” is not the first time that the moviegoing public underestimated the maverick director, as lead up to the release of “Titanic” was beset with a flurry of bad headlines, production issues, and outspoken critics.
TIME Magazine published a feature that ran through all the production issues of “Titanic,” including that the film was (as the headline read) “trying to stay afloat.” A decline in movie theater attendance in the late '90s was scaring investors, and as writer Kim Masters' wrote, "the film is bad for an industry whose costs are running so high that profits are all but vanishing."
When the release date of “Titanic” went from July to December 1997, The Associated Press predicted that the film was “steaming perilously close to the same fate” as the ship that inspired it. Also, many in Hollywood were baffled by the film’s 3 hours and 14-minute runtime, as there were logistical and economic issues with releasing films with extended runtimes.
There was also overwhelmingly negative press, such as cast and crew describing production “as strenuous as filmmaking ever gets,” to the Los Angeles Times. Despite early criticisms, “Titanic” is still a juggernaut of a film that has not only pushed the limits of modern filmmaking but also successfully told a story that touched the hearts of general audiences.