Cameron sez even ‘Titanic’ B.O. will sink

GOOD MORNING: Although Daily Variety proclaimed “Titanic” as the all-time global B.O. champ on Monday, the champ himself — Jim Cameron — predicts the film’s record will be surpassed one day. “We’ll get upended because boxoffice is going up, and so will money spent on films.” As long as we talked money, I asked Cameron if he will see some of the money that he had voluntarily relinquished when the budget bulged over any agreed-on figure. The answer is yes. Cameron said he would “never” ask for the fee he’d given up.” They’ve approached me and said they want to do something. It definitely came from them.” Peter Chernin was the one who approached Cameron and yes, the “something” would be tied into his participation in the profits. Cameron said he wanted to show that he wasn’t “cavalier” when the costs of the movie continued to escalate. Thus, he gave up his points and had given up his directing fee long in advance of the start, “just to get the project greenlit. The only money I took was my writing fee.” He admits he never saw the possibility of profit. “I did it for love. I had been working on it for three years.” The boxoffice has now surpassed three and four “multiples” of what they had dreamed about following its opening. Cameron says the film now proves to movie companies “They cannot make cookie-cutter movies any more. They have to seek originality and movies in which you care about the people in them. It has to be an emotional event.” He says “Titanic’s” success “Is not simply teenage girls going to see Leonardo DiCaprio. It has embraced the hearts of moviegoers. It has taken a place in their hearts.” Just like “Dr. Zhivago” had done for Cameron, who admits he had gone to see it four nights in a row when he was going to school. He was proud that four of the Writer Guild Award nominees were “from huge commercial successes. We were honored by the elite — the writers.” Cameron has several ideas for his next movie(s). He’s “in the game for the long run.” And at 20th. But first he and his family (of whom he hasn’t seen much in three years) head to the South Pacific to go below water, to scuba dive. On Monday, he lunched with AFI honoree Bob Wise, another director whose subjects always had heart.

BROADWAY COMES TO BEVHILLS tonight with “A Night at Sardi’s.” It will feature highlights from “Gypsy,” as re-written by Bruce Vilanch, costumed by Bob Mackie and starring/singing Bea Arthur, Joely Fisher, Jean Smart, Amy Piertz, Ed Asner, Charles Durning, Doris Roberts, Christine Ebersole, Jodi Benson, Donna Murphy, Charlayne Woodard, Cynthia Gibb, Lindsay Ridgeway and Linda Hart. The L.A. Alzheimer Assn. benefits from the event at the BevWilshire, which will be decked with copies of over 300 of the famous Sardi’s caricatures … In N.Y. Monday night, Gramercy’s “The Big Lebowski” by Joel and Ethan Coen preemed at the Chelsea Cinemas, followed by a bowling tourney captained by celebs including Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. The 52nd St. Project for neighborhood kids and the N.Y. Academy of Arts benefit. Cast members on hand were Jeff Bridges, up from the Florida location of “Arlington Road,” David Huddleston and Ben Gazzara. Also there was Lauren Bacall, Bridges’ pal from “The Mirror Has Two Faces” … Over at Elaine’s after the WGAwards, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were intro’d to “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf, who told the young players he was one of the (several) writers who had scripted Par’s 1992 “School Ties” — in which Damon and Affleck had appeared, along with Brendan Fraser and Chris O’Donnell in the drama about a prep school with an anti-Semitic crowd.

ELLEN” TAPES THE FINAL SEG (of the season?) May 13 with guestars from the Women’s’ National Basketball Assn., including L.A. Sparks’ star Lisa Leslie … “Sisterella,” which bowed at the Pasadena Playhouse March 19, 1996, under the auspices of Michael Jackson, Miramax Films and Tribeca Prods., is headed to Melbourne March 7 in a $6.5 million-budgeted production. Larry Hart, who wrote the piece, will star in the skedded 16-week run, part of a one-year tour before a hoped-for B’way bow. It is now being produced by Kevin Jacksobsen in association with Jackson … Barbara and Marvin Davis birthday-partied Sidney Poitier on his 71st at Spago on the eve of Poitier’s departure for Kansas City, Mo., and the Disney board and stockholders’ meeting … Well-known BevHills realtor and perennial bachelor Mike Silverman proposed to Davey Davison at a closing party at Madame Wu’s with a “Will You Marry Me?” note in her fortune cookie. She said “Yes” … Rod Steiger, just returned from Manila and “Legacy,” will next star as the fight manager of Boom-Boom Mancini in the “Body and Soul” remake by MGM/Showtime. Steiger’s also set for “The Red Door” and “Six Wire Winter” and has completed “Incognito,” “Animals,” “Revenant” and “The Kid.” He’s also working with Chip Rosenbloom on “Dorothy of Oz,” in which Dorothy, at age 63, wants to go back to Oz — and is looking to hitch a ride on a tornado to get there. Steiger says work doesn’t bother him, “Lingering does.”

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