LOS ANGELES — James Cameron took his “2.99-D” version of Titanic out into open water Friday.
The director of the Oscar-winning 1997 film and producer Jon Landau previewed 18 minutes of assorted footage that has been converted into 3D for next year’s rerelease of the film. The mastermind behind Avatar joked that it wasn’t fully 3D because Titanic wasn’t filmed in 3D. He was quick to note, though, that most other converted 3D films are just “2.4-D.”
“I think it looks spectacular,” said Cameron. “If I had 3D cameras at the time and there had been 3D theatres at the time, I certainly would have shot it in 3D. It’s also just a way of reinventing the concept of a rerelease and getting people to come back to theatres and commit that three hours and 15 minutes to go through the experience again.”
The footage shown during the invite-only presentation at Paramount Studios included eight scenes, spanning from Kate Winslet’s well-to-do Rose looking up at the Titanic for the first time to the moment when the stern dramatically plunges into the sea at a 90-degree angle, as well as the iconic scene of Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio’s drifter Jack embracing on the bow.
In the scenes previewed Friday, the 3D footage showcased the conversion’s visual reinvigoration of the existing material, especially during moments involving depth, such as a car being slowly hoisted onto the deck of the ship or Jack anxiously awaiting Rose at the bottom of a grand staircase amid a series of columns that seemingly jut out of the screen.
Cameron said that DiCaprio and Winslet have yet to see the 3D footage of Titanic, but he has spoken with Winslet about the project, and she is “on board.” He hasn’t talked to DiCaprio about the rerelease because he’s been busy shooting The Great Gatsby in Australia but he hopes to reconnect with the “J. Edgar” star soon.
“We’d love to have them involved to the extent that I think people are curious about what their journey has been since Titanic,” Cameron said. “I think Titanic cast a very long shadow over the careers of two extremely brilliant young actors who had to spend a lot of time kinda reminding people they weren’t Jack and Rose over the next few years.”
Cameron said that it will take 300 artists 60 weeks at a cost of $18 million to create the 3D version of Titanic, which won’t include any new material. Landau noted that the film will also be rereleased in 2D and that the “2D is going to be a better print than anything we could have done at the time” because they have since created a “digital master” of the film.
Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox are set to rerelease Titanic on April 6, 2012, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail on April 10, 1912.
After it debuted in 1997, Titanic won 11 Academy Awards and grossed more than $1.8 billion worldwide, second only to Cameron’s Avatar, which was filmed in 3D and released in 2009.