On April 14th, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic struck an ice berg in the Atlantic sea. Within hours she was on her way to her permanent resting place, deep beneath the sea. Because the ship did not have enough life boats, over 1500 people (roughly 68% of the souls on board the ship) lost their lives. It was an incredibly tragic disaster, especially because much of it could have been mitigated, had the cruise liner left with enough life boats. It is a sobering reminder of the disastrous consequences that can follow man's arrogance.
The Titanic with her sister ship, the Olympic. The Olympic was involved in a collision with a smaller warship the Hawke in September of 1911. Edward Smith was the captain of the Olympic when it had its mishap. Seven months later, Captain Smith would take his place as captain of the Titanic, no doubt wanting to redeem himself.
Eighty-five years after the tragedy, in the mid-nineties, the dude who made Terminator and Aliens was given the green light to direct an Oscar-bait film based on the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage.
I'm sorry let me type that again, this time when you read it, pretend you are living before 1997 when James Cameron was only known for his bombastic, special-effects laden sci-fi action movie featuring Austrian androids on steroids. You in the proper set of mind? Okay, here we go:
Eighty-five years after the tragedy, in the mid-nineties, the dude who made Terminator and Aliens was given the green light to direct an Oscar-bait film based on the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage. I have an inkling that the reason James Cameron got the green light for Titanic is similar to the reason Peter Jackson was able to make King Kong after he finished The Lord of the Rings: they made a crap-ton of money for their studios and distributors.
Titanic was not a cheap film. In fact it was the most expensive film ever made at the time with a massive budget of $200 million. Let's put that in perspective. When it was completed in 1912, the Titanic ended up costing the White Star Line $7.5 million. When that is adjusted for inflation the total comes to $172 million. In other words, the movie about a luxury, state-of-the-art luxury liner cost more than the liner itself. This was due to the film's massive use of CGI and other special effects.
Now, you may be thinking that turning a tragedy in which over 1500 people lost their lives into a blockbuster movie may be a tad disrespectful, but believe me, people have found ways to really push that envelope.
To be fair, there's a good chance some of these people probably don't know the Titanic was a real ship in which real people met horrible, horible deaths.
Turns out, the massive amount of money poured into Titanic was well worth it. To date, Titanic has grossed over $2 billion when its re-releases are taken into account. The movie cemented James Cameron's place as one of the greatest box-office directors of all time and sent the careers of both Leonardo DiCaprio's and Kate Winslet's into hyper-drive.
Patrick Star, who originally played Rose before the part was recast, would have to wait a couple years before he got his big break at Nickelodeon.
Curiously, Billy Zane's acting career has been pretty low-key since his role in Titanic, despite the fact that he has had a pretty steady stream of roles. Though, let's be honest, Billy Zane's greatest non-Titanic role was Match, one of Biff's lackeys in Back to the Future.