When is a 25th anniversary not quite a 25th anniversary?

This Valentine's Day, our hearts will go on back to theaters for the re-release of Titanic.

But while the re-release is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the James Cameron blockbuster, it's not actually launching on the, well, 25th anniversary. In a new interview with SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show, the filmmaker explained the reasoning behind the date decision.

First things first: Cameron said he wanted to do something for the movie's quarter-centennial because he's "probably not gonna be around for the 50th," and he figured "there's another kind of half-generation of people that haven't seen Titanic in a movie theater and maybe a bunch of nostalgia for, you know, amongst people that have seen it in a movie theater or have always wanted to."

James Cameron and Leonardo Dicaprio on the set of 'Titanic'
James Cameron and Leonardo Dicaprio on the set of 'Titanic'
| Credit: Merie W. Wallace/20th Century Fox

He continued: "Then the question was, 'Okay, what's the date?' Well, the date that made sense to me was Valentine's Day, because in the original release, which was 1997 into 1998, we came out a few days before Christmas. I think it was Dec. 16. But the highest-grossing single day of the release was Valentine's Day." (Titanic, in fact, opened in the U.S. on Dec. 19, 1997.)

Cameron added that it's "kind of obvious why, but very unusual for a film that's been in the marketplace for two months to have its biggest single performing day. So it's a celebration of love. It's a celebration of the movie, at the same time. And it's a celebration of the success of the movie as well. So, yeah."

For those reasons, Titanic will be back on the big screen starting Friday, Feb. 10. The re-release promises a remastered version of the Oscar-winning film, which will be shown in 3D 4K HDR and high frame rate. However, Cameron was quick to point out that the bulk of the remastering work was done 10 years ago, when the film was put into 4K and given a 3D conversion.

The only new element is the addition of Atmos sound, which wasn't available at that time. "So it's just a little more fuller and a little more around you," he said. "But we haven't changed a frame of the movie. There's no Easter eggs or little, you know, end-credit sequence. We don't have to tease another movie."

The Jess Cagle Show airs Monday-Friday at 2 p.m. ET on SiriusXM's Radio Andy.

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