Kate Winslet, Titanic 3D
Titanic 3D may have sailed to the top of the North American box office chart on Wednesday, grossing an estimated $4.7 million at about 2,600 locations according to The Hollywood Reporter. That figure includes $300,000 earned at Tuesday night previews, and 71 IMAX screens. Directed by James Cameron, who made perfectly-timed headlines about a week ago thanks to a quick deep-sea trek, the 1997 megablockbuster stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Titanic’s chief competition for the no. 1 slot is 2012’s own megablockbuster, Jennifer Lawrence / Liam Hemsworth / Josh Hutcherson’s The Hunger Games. The Gary Ross dystopic adventure drama earned an estimated $4.6-$4.7 million on Wednesday — without the added Tuesday night bonus or box-office-boosting 3D surcharges.
Paramount is (officially) estimating Titanic 3D will rake in $20 to $25 million by Friday. 20th Century Fox is handling the film’s international release.
Launched in December 1997, the original Titanic grossed $1.8 billion worldwide. For those who choose to ignore the Inflation Effect, Cameron’s romantic-disaster melodrama was the all-time top-grossing movie until Cameron’s own Avatar, released in December 2009. Needless to say, neither movie actually sold more tickets than Clark Gable / Vivien Leigh’s Gone with the Wind, George Lucas’ Star Wars, Robert Wise / Julie Andrews’ The Sound of Music, or Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, to name a few.
Paramount, Fox, and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment have reportedly spent 60 weeks and $18 million on Titanic’s full restoration and 2D-to-3D conversion.
In early 1998, Titanic was nominated for a record-tying 14 Academy Awards. (Its predecessor was Joseph L. Mankiewicz / Bette Davis’ 1950 dramatic comedy All About Eve.) Cameron’s movie went on to receive 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, thus tying the record of William Wyler / Charlton Heston’s 1959 epic Ben-Hur. (In early 2004, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, would also win 11 Oscars.)
Kate Winslet, veteran Gloria Stuart (Roman Scandals, The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House), and the Titanic’s makeup crew were the only Titanic nominees who went home empty-handed: Winslet lost to Helen Hunt in James L. Brooks’ As Good as It Gets, Stuart lost to Kim Basinger in Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential, while Tommy Lee Jones / Will Smith’s Men in Black won for Best Makeup.
Both Leonardo DiCaprio and James Cameron’s screenplay were bypassed by the Academy. Else, Titanic would have boasted a record-smashing 16 Oscar nominations.
In addition to DiCaprio, Winslet, and Stuart, Titanic features The Roommate / The Mule’s Billy Zane, Misery / Primary Colors’ Kathy Bates (as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown"), Haywire / Shanghai Calling’s Bill Paxton, The Host / Gone in Sixty Seconds’ Frances Fisher, Valkyrie / Gandhi’s Bernard Hill, Morgan! / A Doll’s House’s David Warner, Victor Garber, The Usual Suspects / Firestorm’s Suzy Amis (Cameron’s wife since 2000), Mark Lindsay Chapman, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, and Sanctum / Fantastic Four’s Ioan Gruffudd.
Kate Winslet / Titanic 3D photo: Paramount / 20th Century Fox.