Wednesday marks 15 years since Titanic was released in theaters. Based on the film's profits—it grossed $1.84 billion worldwide—you probably saw it at least once (or if you were a teenage girl at the time, like I was, you saw it many, many more times than that). So I'm sure you were intrigued when a series of photos made the rounds on the internet claiming that Jack and Rose both could have fit on the door at the end of the film.
In the premiere of the latest season of MythBusters, co-hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage decided to find out definitively whether or not Jack and Rose both could have fit on that door, with a little help from a very special guest: director James Cameron.
Cameron claimed that, though the door appeared big enough to hold both Jack and Rose, the buoyancy of the wood would not have allowed both of them to get on the door without it sinking.
To commemorate the anniversary of Titanic's release, let's have a look back at those tests, shall we?
Savage began by creating a mini-Jack and a mini-Rose to do some scale testing, which seemed to support what Cameron was saying.
Full Scale Test
Then, Jamie (playing Rose) and Adam (as Jack) took a scaled-up replica of the door (adjusted to compensate for their increased mass) out on the water to see if it was possible for both of them to actually make it on the piece of wood.
The verdict? Yes, both Jack and Rose could have gotten on the door, if they'd only used their life jackets for extra buoyancy. Cameron's take? “I think you guys are missing the point here. The script says Jack died. He has to die. So maybe we screwed up and the board should have been a little tiny bit smaller, but the dude’s goin’ down.”
The Hypothermia Test
But that wasn't the end of the testing! Jamie and Adam also wanted to test survival in the water versus on the door. To do that, they built a complex dummy they called "ThermoBoy."
The verdict: In the water, Jack was totally a goner—but it's totally plausible that Rose would have survived on the door long enough to be rescued.
In this video, Jamie and Adam discuss what it was like to work with Cameron, what Jamie really thought about testing this myth, and why they built ThermoBoy. They also answer the question: Titanic or Avatar?
Behind the Scenes
And for good measure, here are a few videos of Cameron at M5 Industries!