Titanic put women and children first in more ways than one, said Peter Kramer, lecturer in film studies at the University of East Anglia. It was a brief return to big-budget Hollywood films aimed at the fairer sex.
In his paper Women First: Titanic, action-adventure films and Hollywood's female audience, Mr Kramer suggests that Titanic was the film the industry had been waiting for. "There has been a lack of big romantic epics since the 1960s. Female interests were marginalised by male-oriented films in the 1970s and 1980s, which could easily alienate or offend them."
Mr Kramer said Titanic "actively woos" women. "The trailer highlighted the love story and not the spectacle of the disaster. Even in all the posters we see the ship in relation to the couple."
Director James Cameron admitted that films such as Gone with the Wind and Dr Zhivago had been models: both were tremendously successful at the box office, expensive and aimed at women.
The film does not necessarily mark a new direction in Hollywood. "I'm afraid that Titanic is probably a one-off," Mr Kramer said. He doubts that another Titanic will be launched, attributing Hollywood's reluctance to make big-budget films for women to "basic, conservative, gender politics".