Levy’s Anatomy: Titanic

A mega-production, co-made by two studios, Fox and Paramount, at first, “Titanic” became famous for its bloated budget (over $200 million), which meant, among other things, that it needed to gross $400 million domestically just to break even. Then “Titanic” became notorious for its continuing negative reports from the sets about a disaster picture that’s going to be disastrous from a commercial standpoint.

However, later on, the film’s spiraling costs and extensive coverage became part of the studios’ marketing campaign, which emphasized the production’s epic scale, the large number (more than 550) computer-generated shots, and state-of-the-art visual and sound effects.

Thus, the most expensive film ever made became a mega-spectacle in itself, the most commercially successful flick in film history. Breaking box-office records worldwide, “Titanic” became the highest-grossing film, taking in excess of $1.4 billion globally, of which 600 were domestic receipts.

At Oscar time, “Titanic” equaled the record of the historical spectacle “Ben-Hur” (1959), winning the largest number of Oscars, 11, to date. (This record will be broken by “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which swept 13 Oscars out of its 13 nominations).

It’s legit to ask as critic, how much of the film’s success was function of shrewd promotion and distribution How much was it a result of the film’s genre (the disaster format) and characters How much was it a function of the film’s artistic quality

And what about the stars The high-profile ensemble was headed by Leonardo DiCaprio, then quickly becoming a bankable on the heels of the success of Luhrmann’s “Romeo +Juliet.” And what about the role of journalists who covered the film while in production and film critics who evaluated it upon theatrical release