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James Cameron Made No Money From Titanic

James Cameron Made No Money From Titanic

Two days before “Titanic” hit theaters and broke box office records, the film’s writer and director James Cameron sat down with Howard Stern and told him why he forfeited his salary, backend points, and millions of dollars in order to make the film.

He went from truck driver to film director. James Cameron, responsible for many of Hollywood’s biggest hits - Terminator, Avatar, - talks about getting fired from his first film, Piranha 2, after only 2 weeks.

Why he chose Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role that changed his trajectory in his motion picture and why he gave up ownership in the third highest grossing film of all time, Titanic.

With a global box office of $2.187 billion, Cameron would have made hundreds of millions of dollars on the back end had he given up his salary and profit points to get Titanic made the way he wanted. (Cameron reportedly enjoys a net worth of $700 million dollars so don’t lose any sleep over that!)

Cameron's inspiration for the film came from his fascination with shipwrecks and it was the most expensive film ever made at the time, with a production budget of $200 million. Cameron believed when production began in 2005 that a $120 million budget would suffice. When cost overruns climbed, Cameron gave up his financial interest for an interesting reason: “My philosophy is, I take responsibility. The buck stops here.”

When Howard asked if it bothered him that he worked on a movie for 3 years and made nothing off of it, Cameron replied, “I won’t be out on the street selling pencils.”

Titanic was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 11, including awards for Best Picture and Best Director it tied All About Eve (1950) for the most Oscar nominations, and tied with Ben-Hur (1959) for the most Oscars won by a single film.

 

 

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