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Wednesday, February 25, 1998 Published at 05:11 GMT


Titanic sinks competitors without a trace
image: [ Titanic: sending out lifeboats for the critics ]
Titanic: sending out lifeboats for the critics

The most expensive film ever made, Titanic, is steaming towards becoming Hollywood's first ever billion dollar movie after smashing box office records around the world.

By Monday, the movie had earned a total of $918m (£557m) across the world.

It generated $516m (£313m) in foreign business on top of $402m (£244m) in the United States and Canada.

Only the domestic US box office record eludes the $200m (£121m) film which stars Britain's Kate Winslett and Leonardo di Caprio.

[ image: A love affair on a doomed ship]
A love affair on a doomed ship
Star Wars is still holding onto that record but Twentieth Century Fox International, the distributors of Titanic, predicted that record would soon topple.

Titanic, about a love affair aboard the doomed ocean liner which sank in 1912, steamed past the former first-place holder Jurassic Park. The 1993 dinosaur thriller earned $913m.

"It's definitely going to pass $1bn and $1.1bn seems obtainable," said Twentieth Century Fox spokesman Jorge Carreon.

James Cameron's film has become so successful it has broken its own weekend records time and time again as people return to see the film which opened in the US before Christmas.

After it finishes its run on the big screen, it will transfer to video, almost certainly guaranteeing a further sales boost.

The film's soundtrack has also earned more than any other movie score in history.

Despite the warnings of critics before the film opened, Cameron's film has been nominated for 14 academy awards at this year's Oscars ceremony. They include best picture, director and actress.

At a price tag of $200m to produce and another $100m to promote, advertise and market, Titanic was widely expected to lose money for its producers, Fox and Paramount Pictures.

But the final profit for the film studios could be as much as $200m.

Much of the film's expenditure went on lavish sets including a full scale exterior of the ocean liner, the largest film set in history.

During filming in Mexico, the ship sat in a 17-million-gallon tank of water.

Interiors were painstakingly recreated from plans drawn up by the original builders.

Among the other worldwide top grossing movies are:

  • Independence Day ($807.7m - £489m)
  • Star Wars ($780.1m - £473m)
  • The Lion King ($772.3m - £468m)


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