Cover image for Titanic : anatomy of a blockbuster
Titanic : anatomy of a blockbuster
Sandler, Kevin S., 1969-
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
vii, 274 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1997.T54 T58 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



On April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg off Newfoundland. Taking more than 1,500 souls with her, Titanic sunk on what was intended to be the glorious maiden voyage of the biggest, most expensive, and most technologically advanced ship ever built.

In 1997, James Cameron's Titanic, the most expensive and technologically advanced movie ever made, hit theaters. In 13 weeks, it became the highest-grossing film in North America, and shortly thereafter, the first motion picture to earn a billion dollars worldwide.

The cultural studies and film scholars who have contributed 13 essays to this collection ask the key question--Why? What made Titanic such a popular movie? Why has this film become a cultural and film phenomenon? What makes it so fascinating to the film-going public?

The articles address everything from the nostalgia evoked by the film to the semiotic meaningfulness created around "The Heart of the Ocean" diamond that figures so prominently as a symbol in the film. Contributors address questions of the representations of class, sexuality, and gender; analyze the cross-cultural reception of the film in nationally specific contexts; examine the impact of strategies for marketing the film through music; and cover the implications of the budget toward the film's success. Finally, the contributors address the film's multi-faceted relationship to genre, history, stardom, and contemporary social and economic means.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The popular box office and cultural phenomenon that is James Cameron's Titanic has already seen several spin-off volumes and numerous "fan" articles documenting its production history, exploiting its star appeal, and detailing its merchandizing programs. Sandler and Studlar's anthology, however, targets cultural historians and media specialists. Thirteen scholars from the US and UK examine the dynamics of the film and its appeal to audiences. Proceeding from the commonly held assumption that Titanic's popularity resides in its offering "diverse pleasures for diverse audiences," the contributors address a freewheeling variety of topics: a cross-cultural analysis of the film's reception in nationally specific contexts, the marketing strategies of the James Horner/Celine Dion music track, implications of the gender construction of the Leonardo DiCaprio character, the targeting of the specific audience demographic of young teenage girls, the film's position within the crosshairs of virtual history and nostalgia, its invocation of conspicuous consumption and fetishistic objectification, its rather unorthodox identity as an "action" film, its significance as a narrative of millennial annihilation and survivalism, among others. Few recent films--particularly the blockbuster hits--have received this degree of thoughtful, intensive scrutiny. Highly recommended for serious film scholars and enthusiasts at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. J. C. Tibbetts; University of Kansas