The ‘Titanic’ door, dividing fans for years, fetches hefty sum at auction

A screen capture from 'Titanic' shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose after the Titanic has sunk. CBS via Getty Images

It’s a door that’s sparked debate and divided fans of the movie Titanic, and now it’s fetched close to $1 million at auction.

Since the movie was released in 1997, people have argued back and forth about whether the slab of wood that kept Kate Winslet’s Rose out of the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean could have also had room for her lover, Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Spoiler alert (if you haven’t seen the movie in the 27 years since its release) — in the final scenes of the movie, the couple cling to the door as the ship sinks in the background. They decide that the makeshift raft won’t sustain them both and Jack sacrifices his life for Rose, succumbing to a frozen death while she is eventually rescued.

A closer view of the ‘Titanic’ door sold at auction. Heritage Auctions

The Treasures from Planet Hollywood auction, which ran over the course of five days last week, offered up the iconic piece of false wreckage and it became the top-selling item in the auction, with the highest bid of US$718,750 (C$975,775.)

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Fans devastated by Jack’s death have long questioned if he actually had to die: Could they both have fit on the door? Should they have taken turns until the rescue boats arrived? Was Rose selfish?

Now, one lucky theorist can test out all the possible scenarios, using the prop piece of balsa wood — which the auction points out was actually part of a door frame above the movie ship’s first-class lounge entrance.

A screen capture from ‘Titanic’ shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose. CBS via Getty Images

In the nearly three decades since Titanic first hit theatres, that one scene has caused so much debate that even director James Cameron weighed in.

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After a 2012 episode of Mythbusters, where hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage conducted a series of experiments they say proved that both Rose and Jack could have plausibly survived by clinging to the same scrap of wood, Cameron offered a good-natured response: “I think you guys are missing the point here.”

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“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,” he said.

He went a step further in 2022, announcing he had conducted a “scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all.”

In an elaborate recreation, conducted thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert, they used two stunt people with the same body mass as Winslet and DiCaprio and a reproduction raft and immersed them in ice water, running through all the possible scenarios put forth by skeptics.

The conclusion: “Jack might’ve lived, but there’s a lot of variables … (and) I think his thought process was, ‘I’m not going to do one thing that jeopardizes her.’ And that’s 100 per cent in character.”

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Around the time of Cameron’s experiment, Winslet also waded into the debate.

“Look, all I can tell you is, I do have a decent understanding of water and how it behaves,” she said on a 2022 episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “I think he would have fit, but it would have tipped and it would not have been a sustainable idea — yes, he could have fit on that door, but it would not have stayed afloat. It wouldn’t.”

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