This December marks the twentieth anniversary of Titanic, James Cameron’s classic blockbuster full of young love and cold death. It’s one of the most popular movies of all- time, raking over $2.1 billion at the box office, but the story of Jack and Rose’s forbidden love upon the doomed ship has lived on through Celine Dion’s ever-present soundtrack, memes, and most passionately, through the argument that Jack could’ve hopped on that door that Rose was floating on so the lovers could live on forever. Mythbusters even spent an episode dedicated to Jack’s potentially pointless demise (that Cameron quickly debunked).
And while Cameron’s movie will always be iconic and a feat of filmmaking, it’s Jack’s death that still comes up to this day. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he seems tired of it.
“I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die. Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless … the film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.”
It’s arguable that Jack suddenly being crushed by a smokestack would’ve been the braver artistic choice, but how can you deny promising to not let go, etc? That’s where the blockbuster cash kicks in. Death Door promises like that rake in the repeat viewings and keeps the Jack survival theories alive forever. Cameron knew what he was doing.