Advertisement

Titanic Door Prop Sells at Auction for Hundreds of Thousands, Reigniting Age-Old Debate

The famous floating “door” that has caused endless heated debates since Titanic’s 1997 release has sold for $718,750 at auction.

In James Cameron’s hit romantic disaster film, Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) locate a wooden slab to float on after the ship has sunk. The young couple struggle to both clamber on, so Jack protects Rose by allowing her to climb aboard while he remains suspended in the icy ocean where he dies, likely of hypothermia.

The balsa wood panel—arguably the film’s third most significant character—has for decades caused fans to question whether it would have been big enough to support both fictional characters in the aftermath of the Titanic sinking. But now one superfan bidder can put all the endless theories to rest and reach their own conclusion.

In its auction listing notes, it is revealed that the flotation prop is often mistakenly referred to as a door but it was in fact part of the door frame above the ship’s first-class lounge entrance. It is designed with motifs associated with Rococo architecture.

“Based on the most famous complete piece of debris salvaged from the 1912 tragedy, this intricately carved prop bears a striking resemblance to the Louis XV-style panel housed in the Maritime Museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia,” the listing noted.

Read More: Could Jack Have Fit on the Titanic Door? Let’s Examine the Modern Cinema Debate

The item was sold among a number of other props and costumes by restaurant and resort chain Planet Hollywood. Other Titanic relics include the ship’s helm wheel and the chiffon dress Winslet wore for the scenes where the ship sinks. It also includes the iconic ax Jack Nicholson used in The Shining (1980) and Harrison Ford’s signature bullwhip from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

The lucrative sale is no surprise for one of the highest grossing films of all time. But it has also reignited fans to reference the raft’s ability to allow two people to float.

“If she’d shuffled over to let Jack on, it might’ve fetched a million,” joked one fan on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). An additional X user shared an image of the couple with the raft and quipped, “Jack. Yes, Rose. Don't touch my door, it's worth 718,750 dollars.”

Another X user asked the age old question, “Could the new owner try [to see] if it is big enough for two?”

In 2022, Cameron set out to settle the matter by commissioning a scientific study to “put this whole thing to rest” and prove Jack’s fate was not avoidable.

“We have since done a thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert who reproduced the raft from the movie,” Cameron told Postmedia, according to The Guardian. “We took two stunt people who were the same body mass of Kate and Leo and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was: there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive,” he added.

Insisting on Jack’s death, Cameron said: “It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice.”

The results of the study aired on National Geographic in 2023, after the film celebrated its 25th anniversary as a beloved classic. It concluded that no position would have changed the outcome of the film’s final scenes, no matter what fans argue.

Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com.