Ghosts of the Abyss

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Ghosts of the Abyss
Ghosts of the abyss.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Cameron
Produced byJohn Bruno
James Cameron
Chuck Comisky
Janace Tashjian
Andrew Wight
StarringBill Paxton
James Cameron
Dr. John Broadwater
Dr. Lori Johnston
CinematographyVince Pace
D. J. Roller
Edited byDavid C. Cook
Ed W. Marsh
Sven Pape
John Refoua
Music byJoel McNeely
Walden Media
Earthship Productions
Ascot Elite Entertainment Group
Golden Village
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution (Selected territories)
Summit Entertainment (International)[1]
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 is a 2003 American documentary film produced by Walden Media and released in most countries by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron after his 1997 Oscar-winning 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. With the help of two small, purpose-built remotely operated vehicles, nicknamed "Jake" and "Elwood", the audience too can see inside the Titanic, and with the help of CGI, audiences can view the ship's original appearance superimposed on the deep-dive images.

Also along for the ride Cameron invited his friend, actor Bill Paxton, who played Brock Lovett in the 1997 film. Paxton narrates the event through his eyes. 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.[4]

The film is also known as Titanic 3D: Ghosts of the Abyss.[5][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,[6] he embarks on an adventure back to the final grave of 1,517 people killed in 1912.[5] Using technology developed for this expedition, Cameron and his crew are able to explore virtually all of the wreckage, inside and out, as never before. This documentary was made for IMAX 3D theatres and specially outfitted 35 mm 3D theaters. Cameron and his team bring audiences to sights not seen since the sinking and explore why the vessel continues to intrigue and fascinate the public.[7] 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 all 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.[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 list of the best 3D movies ever, in 2012.[11]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $17,093,668 from a maximum release of 97 theaters in the United States. It also grossed $11,687,000 internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $28,780,668.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that the documentary earned 80% positive reviews based on 102 reviews, with 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]


Ghosts of the Abyss
Soundtrack album by
Joel Mcneely
ReleasedApril 26, 2003
LabelHollywood Records

The official soundtrack's score were 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 Halifax, Nova Scotia, 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.

Track listing[edit]

All music is composed by Joel McNeely, except where noted.

1."Departure"Glen PhillipsGlen Phillips2:33
2."Main Title"  1:16
3."Apprehension"  1:29
4."Getting Ready"  1:20
5."Titanic Revealed"  3:11
6."Floating Above the Deck"  3:01
7."Dangerous Recovery"  1:28
8."Valse Septembre"Felix Godin 2:19
9."The Windows"  0:47
10."Jake and Elwood"  2:14
11."The Bots Go In"  1:33
12."Titsy Bitsy Girl"Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton 1:52
13."The Grand Staircase"  1:33
14."Exploring the Staterooms"  1:51
15."Song Without Words"Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 2:26
16."Elegance Past"  2:10
17."Building the Ship"  1:28
18."I... I Had to Go"  1:54
19."The Ship's Engines"  1:42
20."Alexander's Ragtime Band"Irving Berlin 1:53
21."The Final Day"  2:15
22."The End"  3:17
23."Memorials"  1:18
24."Go Toward the Light"  1:31
25."The Next Morning"  2:08
26."Nearer My God to Thee"John B. Dykes 0:55
27."Saying Goodbye to Titanic"  1:55
28."Eternal Father, Strong to Save"John B. Dykes and William Whiting 3:02
29."Darkness, Darkness"Jesse Colin YoungLisa Torban4:05
Total length:58:29


  1. ^ Poirier, Agnes (25 April 2003). "Ghosts of the Abyss". Screen International. 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. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  4. ^ 47218_GotAEGv15_A
  5. ^ a b "Titanic director revisits ship's wreck with hi-tech help". New Zealand Herald. March 19, 2005.
  6. ^ a b "Titanic 3D: Ghosts Of The Abyss (2003)". Yahoo! Movies. 2012.
  7. ^ Anonymous Summary taken from IMDb
  8. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Ghosts of the Abyss". Archived from the original on 2011-08-21. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  9. ^ "Ghost of the Abyss 3D Blu-ray". 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. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  11. ^ "The Best and Worst 3D Movies". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  12. ^ "Ghosts of the Abyss (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Ghosts of the Abyss Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 March 2021.

External links[edit]