full time as a graduate student. While I was
planning to accept some substitute teaching
assignments, I ended up working as a temp during the
weekends to pay my bills. One of the jobs that I held
was as a movie investigator and one of the assignments
that I received was for a movie titled "Titanic."
My job was to audit the threat re and to make sure
that ticket receipts matched attendance. Frequently these
assignments would last three weekends, but this
"Titanic" assignment lasted 15 weeks.
A few month’s before "Titanic’s" release, Princess
Diana died, Jimmy Johnson coached the Miami Dolphins
and the Florida Marlins won their first World Series.
O.J. Simpson was found liable in civil court for the
death of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. The
Dow Down Industrial average cracked the 7000 mark for
the first time and the Spice Girls broke up. Michael
Jordan and the Chicago Bulls would win their 5th
Championship and Mike Tyson was disqualified in a
fight because he bit off parts of Evander Holyfield’s
The production history for "Titanic" was shaky.
Director/writer James Cameron earned terrible press
and was creating one of the most expensive and self
indulgent movies of all time. The film was supposed
to be released during the summer of 1997, but
apparently Harrison Ford spoke to Paramount studio
executives and asked that they delay release of
"Titanic" so that it would not compete with his
movie, "Air Force One." The movie trailer for
"Titanic" revealed too much information, but
audiences were consistently awed by some of the
visuals of the sinking ship.
"Titanic" opened on the same weekend as a James Bond
movie. The box office receipts were close, but
"Titanic" slightly edged out Pierce Brosan's
"Tomorrow Never Dies." Before 1997 ended,
"Titanic" grossed over 200 million dollars. Each
week a new film would be released that was projected
to be the new box office champ ("Wag the Dog,"
"Primary Colors," "The Wedding Singer," "Blues
Brothers 2000," "US Marshals,"), but "Titanic"
would still win the weekend box office crown.
Eventually "Titanic" became the
highest-grossing film ($600,788,188) in North American
box office history. When "Titanic" won 11 Oscars,
James Cameron boasted; “We made so much money that
even the accountants can not hide it!“
There were many factors for the success of
"Titanic." "Titanic," presented the first pure
romantic movie for a generation that was raised on the
cool cynicism of MTV and the scandal ridden Clinton
Administration. The film became the penultimate date
movie and I saw many of my former students pay tickets
on a Saturday night. Celine Dion's Oscar winning song
"My Heart Will Go On” provided a soundtrack for making
out in the backseat.
1997 was also the pioneer days of the Internet and
people were connecting with each other all over the
world. Natalia Giret was Kate Winslet's photograph
double. During the scene in which the ice berg
strikes the ship, Natalia Giret's back doubled for
Kate Winslet. She created a website that was
terrorized by her rabbit and her “troll“ of a
brother. We corresponded during **Titanic's* 15 weeks
of glory. Sadly, Miss Giret's website went dormant
and we lost contact.
In ten years, movie goers have seen another "Star
Wars" trilogy, a "Pirates of a Caribbean" trilogy
and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, yet "Titanic"
reigns as the box office champion with a worldwide
gross of $1,845,034,000. If I ever doubted that I
did the right thing by quitting a job and finishing up
graduate school, then I look back at my involvement
with "Titanic" as a harbinger that I was on the