Date timed to mark centennial of original ship's voyage

Come next spring, the world gets another chance to see whether James Cameron can deliver on a lofty promise.

Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Cameron have set April 6, 2012, as the release date for their 3D conversion of “Titanic.” Moviegoers will see whether Cameron can make the enhancement work for his second-biggest movie.

Though the “Avatar” mastermind has been consistently critical of the quality of recent conversions, he said he’s long made it a goal to exhibit “Titanic” in 3D. In February, at the bow of the cave-diving drama “Sanctum,” which Cameron produced, he told Variety that he was working on the conversion and that the 3D “Titanic” was on target for release sometime in 2012.

The conversion work on “Titanic” is being overseen by Cameron and his Lightstorm producing partner Jon Landau, who produced the film. In March, Cameron told the CinemaCon crowd in Las Vegas that because he was so intimately involved with the original “Titanic,” he’s in a unique position to convert it to 3D.

“I know exactly how many feet it is between the pillar and the staircase,” Cameron said, going on to say that one of the challenges of deepening the image post-production is knowing what the exact scale and dimensions were in real space.

Written, produced and helmed by Cameron, “Titanic” bowed in December 1997 and went on to gross more than $1 billion worldwide and receive 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and director.

“There’s a whole generation that’s never seen ‘Titanic’ as it was meant to be seen, on the bigscreen,” said Cameron in announcing the 3D release date Thursday. “And this will be ‘Titanic’ as you’ve never seen it before, digitally remastered at 4K and painstakingly converted to 3D.”

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