The Terrible Tragedy
Titanic, was a film produced in 1997, based on the true story of the British luxury steamship that sank in the Atlantic Ocean on Apri15th, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during its voyage from Southampton, England to New York. Titanic is the most watched movie of all time and second in popularity across the world with over 900,000 votes (Most Watched Movies n.p.). Despites the lack of international funding during production, the Titanic was extremely popular with international audiences.
The history of the tragedy, its emotional effect on viewers and its romantic nature made the movie wildly appealing to movie goers.
The terrible tragedy, resulting in the loss of more than 1,500 lives, was at the time, a traumatic event, felt worldwide. Of these that lost their lives, the majority was the third- and second-class passengers, as well as over 1300 of them being men (How Many People n.p.). The story of the Titanic and of the events surrounding her fateful maiden voyage has become a well-known and circulated legend of the sea (Edgette n.p.). Many people wondered how the ship sinking was possible, and this was the first media production about it. So therefore, attracting many viewers just based on the mystery helped them become successful worldwide. The state-of-the-art technology, in the movie’s production of the dramatic events, impressed audiences and contributed the film’s success.
Love stories are some of the most popular and most viewed genre of movies worldwide. Titanic incorporated a Romeo and Juliet love story which had international appeal. The love story featured the characters Jack Dawson and Rose Bukater, both 17 years old. Rose an English, upper class passenger broke from the social norms spending time with Jack, a lower class, American stow away. As time goes on, Jack goes to extensive lengths to impress Rose and even saves her life at the conclusion of this drama filled movie. This movie is a buildup of romance inside of a traumatic event. As the young couple starts to fall in love, disaster strikes, and the ship begins to sink. This romance is very suspenseful and intriguing which keeps viewers watching contributing to the success of the movie worldwide. If this movie was a documentary, it would not have attracted the large amount of people. The combination of the love story and the dramatic, true story, events captured the audience’s attention. The research, which resulted in the blend of the true dramatic events and young love story, was a perfect combination.
The sinking of the RMS Titanic was a tragic event that had viewers rethinking their own lives in a positive way. Tragic movies, create an emotional factor, bringing viewers into the theatre. After viewing tragic movies, people tend to appreciate their current life situation. Tragic movies bring out emotion, boost pain tolerance and even make us happier. In a study that surveyed 361 students, Ohio State’s professor Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick found that people felt happier after watching a movie with tragic events. Watching tragic movies makes some people happier because they bring attention to positive aspects in their own lives. And this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings (Villarica n.p.). When viewers are happy about how they feel after a movie and how it motivated them to live a better life. This creates a lasting, positive effect. It becomes a solid recipe that appeals to a diverse and wide audience.
James Cameron and his studio are both big reasons why the movie did so well with global audiences. Cameron is a well credited filmmaker and deep sea-explorer, so this production came very naturally. The quality of this movie created great interest in the historic event. As mentioned by Joseph Edgette, The release of James Cameron’s film version of Titanic in 1997 is a good illustration of this kind of renewal (n.p). Previous to producing Titanic, James Cameron wrote and directed Terminator and II, as well as, Alien. His early success enabled Cameron to gain the approval to write and direct Titanic. Contributing to the reality of the movie, Cameron added historic footage of the wreck, which added to the movie’s validity. The studio made sure to include this real footage to increase viewer empathy for the tragic events. The Titanic set a world record by grossing $2,186,772,302, which makes it today’s second highest worldwide grossing movie, behind Cameron’s own Avatar movie, which acquired $2,787,965,087 (Highest Grossing Movies n.p.). Cameron also won an extensive number of awards for Titanic. Including the following; best director, best film editing, best original screenplay, best foreign language film, outstanding directional achievement in motion pictures (James Cameron n.p.).
According to a study by the University of Cambridge, actors that have earned previous awards or recognition, which positively impact reviews, which influences consumer’s choice on viewing the movie (Sydney n.p.). Leonardo DiCaprio who played Jack Dawson, was a previously well know actor with 18 years’ experience before he filmed the Titanic. He appeared in several successful television shows and movies. Kate Winslet, who played Rose Bukater, 6 years of film experience. She is a British actress, who attracted her European fan base to the new film (Kate Winslet n.p.). The concept and characters of Titanic were well chosen by James Cameron. Winslet being a famous British actress and DiCaprio being a famous American actor, they both contributed to the attraction of international audiences. Given the citizenship of both actors. It parallels the nations involved in the real events, adding to the movies appeal.
The target audience of the movie also contributed to its appeal and approval. James Cameron and the studio made sure to promote the film to all demographics. Because the movie is based off a worldwide tragedy, many were already aware of its historical context. Cameron implemented an easy storyline to appeal to the typical viewer. He also used a simple plot that captured many people’s hearts through a love story. According to Joseph J. Edgette, The general public was not only mesmerized by the film, but also began to seek as much information as possible to satisfy both an intellectual and popular curiosity (NP). As a result, the public did more research about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. This is a generation movie, with the idea that this movie will pass down family generation lines to learn about history and will continue attracts new audiences due to its good quality
The success of Titanic was a result of a mix of several, well blended story lines that appealed to a large demographic. The Titanic was an eventful and dramatically filled movie that was easy to follow and very successful worldwide. The financial and critical success are evidence to Cameron’s solid work. Some reasons that the movie was so successful was the insertion of actual footage. Giving the viewer a real-life experience. The love story contained within the tragic events also added to the movie’s emotion. Identically, the writer and producer James Cameron were a huge factor in promoting and delivering a quality movie to the viewers while having a studio under his leadership. Moreover, the demographic of the movie helped contribute to the popularity and success of the movie. Altogether, the Titanic was a worldwide successful movie for a variety of well-made choices by James Cameron, which continues to appeal several years after its production.
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