18 minutes screened on Paramount lot

James Cameron and Jon Landau screened eight scenes from the 3D conversion of “Titanic” on the Paramount lot Friday, and said afterwards that the re-release in the format amounts to savvy marketing.

“At least we can still squeeze a little applause out of a 15-year-old movie,” Cameron joked as attendees clapped after the 18-minute preview.

Bringing “Titanic” lovers back to the theater and reaching a new generation of ticketbuyers through 3D is the point of re-releasing “Titanic,” much as Disney did with “The Lion King” in 3D in September. (“Titanic” will also be re-released in remastered 2D in April.)

The eight scenes screened Friday included the “I’m flying” scene at the bow of the ship and other pivotal moments.

The 3D conversion brings depth to sweeping scenes, as when the docked ship is being loaded with cars, luggage and passengers, and as the oceanliner’s cogs and wheels gear up when the ship’s crew tries to steer the ship away from the iceberg.

In most of the scenes, however, the 3D was less noticeable.

Cameron said he wanted the audience to be drawn into the story, without the 3D overwhelming the drama.

“Ideally as you watch, if it’s done properly, you sort of forget that it’s in 3D,” said Cameron. “It’s a novelty at first and looks really cool, but after a while you’re just kind of immersed in the story.”

Friday’s viewers are among the first to see the 3D footage — Cameron said that even pic’s stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have yet to see it.

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