When the James Cameron-directed ‘Titanic’ hit the theaters in 1997, the luxurious vessel had left the world spellbound with its beauty and now China is bringing an opportunity for us to experience this ocean liner live.
More than a century after the ill-fated maiden voyage of the British luxury passenger liner, Titanic is being brought back to a landlocked Chinese theme park, to give tourists an exquisite experience at the full-scale replica of the vessel.
The project’s main investors were inspired to recreate the world’s most infamous cruise liner by the 1997 box office hit ‘Titanic’, once the world’s top-grossing film, which was wildly popular in China.
The original luxury vessel, the largest of its time and branded “unsinkable” by its owners, plunged into the depths of the Atlantic in 1912 after hitting an iceberg, leaving more than 1,500 people dead.
Su Shaojun says that his intention behind financing the 260-meter-long duplicate was to keep memories of the Titanic alive, “I hope this ship will be here in 100 or 200 years. We are building a museum for the Titanic.”
It has taken six years to build the replica, which is longer than the construction of the original Titanic, along with more than 20,000 tonnes of steel, over a hundred workers, with a huge $153.5 million price tag.
Everything from the dining room to the luxury cabins and even the door handles are recreated taking reference from the original Titanic. The site also features a replica of Southampton Port seen in James Cameron’s 1997 film, where Leonardo DiCaprio’s fictional character Jack swings on board after winning a ticket in a bet.
The construction forms the centerpiece of a Sichuan province theme park more than 1,000 kilometers from the sea. Tour buses play the film’s theme tune, Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’, repeatedly.
Mr. Su says that it costs around $150 to spend one night on the ship for the “five-star cruise service”, along with a functioning steam engine so that the guests will feel they are really at sea.
The replica has drawn plenty of controversies even before its opening. Netizens have questioned whether the famous ship would attract tourists given the disaster that struck its real-life inspiration.
Others feared it would join other ambitious Chinese building projects that turned into white elephants, including a 2008 replica of the USS Enterprise, an American aircraft carrier, which cost over $18 million and was abandoned shortly after it opened.