Ghosts of the Abyss

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Ghosts of the Abyss
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Cameron
Produced by
  • Bill Paxton
  • James Cameron
  • Dr. John Broadwater
  • Dr. Lori Johnston
  • Vince Pace
  • D. J. Roller
Edited by
Music byJoel McNeely
Distributed by
Release dates
  • March 31, 2003 (2003-03-31) (premiere)
  • April 11, 2003 (2003-04-11) (limited)
Running time
61 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$28.7 million[3]

Ghosts of the Abyss (also known as Titanic 3D: Ghosts of the Abyss[4][5]) is a 2003 American documentary film produced by Walden Media. It was directed by James Cameron after his 1997 film Titanic. During August and September 2001, Cameron and a group of scientists staged an expedition to the wreck of the RMS Titanic and dived in Russian deep-submersibles to obtain more detailed images than anyone had before. Using two small, purpose-built remotely operated vehicles, the documentary offers glimpses into the Titanic wreck and, with CGI, superimposes the ship's original appearance on the deep-dive images.

The film is narrated by actor Bill Paxton, who joined Cameron on the expedition and previously played Brock Lovett in the 1997 film. The film premiered for IMAX 3D and was nominated for a BFCA award for Best Documentary. The submersibles Mir 1 and Mir 2 carried the filming team on 12 dives.[6]


Director James Cameron returns to the site of the 1912 wreck of the RMS Titanic, aboard the Russian research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh with a team of history and marine experts, and his friend Bill Paxton.[5] Cameron and the crew document the interiors and exteriors of the wreckage using 3D technology designed for the documentary. While diving on September 11, 2001, the filming crew hears about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Afterward, they compare and reflect on the tragedy of 9/11 with the tragedy of the Titanic.


Throughout the movie, there are re-enactments of events that are discussed that use CGI recreations of the interior of the Titanic.


The film was screened out of competition at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.[7]

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution handled distribution of the film in the United States and Canada with sister company Buena Vista International handling UK distribution, both under the Walt Disney Pictures banner. Summit Entertainment handled international sales of the film.[8]

Home media[edit]

The feature film on the DVD is 90 minutes long and is available in a two-disc edition and as the fifth disc in the Titanic five-Disc Deluxe Limited Edition.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on a three-disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD edition on September 11, 2012.[9][10]

Rolling Stone included the documentary in its 2012 list of the best 3D movies.[11]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $17.1 million from a maximum release of 97 theaters in the United States. It also grossed $11.7 million internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $28.8 million.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that the documentary earned 80% positive reviews based on 102 reviews and an average score of 7.10/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The underwater footage is both beautiful and awe-inspiring."[12] On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 67 out of 100 from 24 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]


The official soundtrack's score was composed and conducted by Joel McNeely, and the orchestrations were conducted by David Brown, Marshall Bowen, and Frank Macchia. The album was also recorded and mixed by Rich Breen, edited by Craig Pettigrew, and mastered by Pat Sullivan. The album was ultimately produced by James Cameron, Randy Gerston and Joel McNeely and released by Disney's Hollywood Records label. Part of the film was filmed in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Toad the Wet Sprocket lead singer and songwriter Glen Phillips contributed the opening track, "Departure". James Cameron loved the band's 1991 track "Nightingale Song" but found Columbia Records' licensing fee too high (it wanted over $5,000 for the use of the one minute he wanted to use) so he contacted the band's management hoping they could re-record it for his film, only to find they had broken up in 1998 and could not. However, during the negotiations Cameron asked if Phillips would be interested in writing a new track in the spirit of the older song and "Departure" was created. it was produced, mixed, and all instruments played by Phillips in his garage studio though this was not credited in the CD booklet.

The closing track is Darkness, Darkness by Lisa Torban.


  1. ^ Poirier, Agnes (25 April 2003). "Ghosts of the Abyss". Screen International. Archived from the original on 14 September 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2016-10-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Ghosts of the Abyss – Box Office Data". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Titanic director revisits ship's wreck with hi-tech help". New Zealand Herald. March 19, 2005. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Titanic 3D: Ghosts Of The Abyss (2003)". Yahoo! Movies. 2012. Archived from the original on 2011-02-28. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  6. ^ "47218_GotAEGv15_A" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2021-12-15.
  7. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Ghosts of the Abyss". Archived from the original on 2011-08-21. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  8. ^ Poirier, Agnes (25 April 2003). "Ghosts of the Abyss". Screen International. Archived from the original on 14 September 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  9. ^ "Ghost of the Abyss 3D Blu-ray". Archived from the original on 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  10. ^ "James Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss Blu-ray 3D Release Date and Details (Updated) – TheHDRoom". TheHDRoom. 2012-05-20. Archived from the original on 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  11. ^ "The Best and Worst 3D Movies". Rolling Stone. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  12. ^ "Ghosts of the Abyss (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Ghosts of the Abyss Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2021.

External links[edit]