Clive Palmer, the Australian billionaire financing a modern-day replica of the doomed RMS Titanic, has announced that a new studio to oversee filming of the ship's maiden voyage.
The 59-year-old recently applied for the trademark "Palmer Pictures," which will create not only a documentary about the Titanic II, but also, incredulously, a feature-length blockbuster movie.
While a documentary makes sense, I'm not so sure you're going to find any "major Hollywood stars" willing to jump at a major motion picture from a completely unproven studio. Much less one that's a marketing tool for the ship itself. I know Palmer likes to dream big - this vessel alone is a testament to that - but crafting a Hollywood film around the maiden voyage seems like a waste of money. Nevertheless, he's adamant that it will be easy to drum up interest.
“The world is waiting in anticipation for Titanic II," he adds. "We have had more than 50,000 people register to go on the maiden passenger voyage and there will be hundreds of thousands of people lining the shore when Titanic II reaches New York and global media interest."
Beyond the press releases and media events, actual development on the Titanic II has been proceeding; albeit slowly. Last month, Palmer's Blue Star Line completed the first model tests of the Titanic II's hull. A 30-foot-long replica of the vessel was placed inside a 1000-foot-long tank at the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) in Germany. Over four days, the team there performed propulsion and power testing - with the prototype approaching speeds of 23 knots.
Construction is expected to start early next year in China with a goal to launch in late 2016. While some doubt the ship will actually be built, Palmer himself appears determined to see it through.