James Cameron Conducted a Forensic Study to Put the ‘Titanic’ Door Debate to Rest

Today marks 25 years since Titanic arrived in theaters and became an instant Hollywood classic, but it also marks 25 years of people arguing about whether both Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) could've survived in the end. (And if you've somehow never seen this movie or heard about the ending, then this is your warning for spoilers ahead.)

As fans remember well, Titanic ends with the R.M.S. Titanic...well, plunging into the sea, and as passengers in the ocean are dying of hypothermia, Rose ends up surviving because she lies on a door that is floating in the water. However, Jack does not join her, because when they both try to fit on the door, they keep toppling over (and unfortunately, it leads to his demise).

Ever since this tragic ending, fans have argued that Jack *could've* certainly fit and then they both would've survived. But, the director of Titanic, James Cameron, is coming out to prove that it just actually wasn't possible.

CBS/Getty Images

Recently, Cameron conducted a “forensic” study, as he put it, which proved that the door could not have supported them both.

While talking with The Toronto Sun, Cameron declared, “We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart, once and for all.”

He continued, “We have since done a thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert who reproduced the raft from the movie.” Cameron noted that they used “two stunt people who were the same body mass of Kate and Leo” and he added, “We put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was—there was no way they both could have survived.” The Avatar: The Way of Water filmmaker drove home the point by saying: “Only one could survive.”

Paramount Pictures

This study will be featured in a new special from National Geographic, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of Titanic, and is set to premiere at some point in 2023.

However, as Cameron noted on an episode of Mythbusters, people can argue all they want, but Jack's death was an artistic decision that he wanted to happen regardless. “He needed to die,” Cameron said. “It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice.”

All we know is, if Rose had stayed on her lifeboat, maybe Jack would've survived on the door. But, that's a debate for a different time.

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Joel Calfee

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...
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