Infamous door prop that kept Rose (but not Jack) afloat in Titanic sells at auction

The piece of wood that has sparked consistent debates among film enthusiasts since the release of James Cameron's Titanic has sold at an auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The infamous door used to keep Kate Winslet's character Rose afloat once the ship went down in the blockbuster has sold for $718,750 (£567,561).

Arguments over whether Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) could have fit on the approximately eight-foot long, 41in-wide door instead of freezing to death so love interest Rose could remain above water have only grown louder since the film's release in 1997.

The auction notes allude to the controversy, saying: "The iconic prop has caused much debate from fans, many of whom have argued that the floating wood panel could have supported both Jack and Rose - making his fateful decision to stay in the frigid water an empty gesture."

It also points out the prop, while widely known to be a door, is in fact a copy of part of a door frame just above the first-class lounge entrance of the real Titanic.

Debate has been raging for so long that director Cameron revealed in 2022 he had done "a thorough forensic analysis" to prove Jack couldn't fit on it.

"We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all," Cameron told Postmedia.

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The study's outcome was shared in a National Geographic special the following year.

"We took two stunt people who were the same body mass of Kate and Leo and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was, there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive," Cameron explained.

Asked if he regretted the finale's outcome, the filmmaker said: "No, he needed to die. It's like Romeo and Juliet. It's a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice."

Heritage Auctions, which the worn-out wood panel sold through on Saturday, said it had a plaque on the back which includes the names of the lead actors, the film's title and the names of the production companies involved, along with a description of the scene it was used in.

It was the highest-selling prop in the three-day "Treasures From Planet Hollywood" auction, which made $15.6m (£12.4m) with 1,600 items on offer.

Sixteen items sold for six-digit figures, Heritage Auctions said, including Bill Murray's red-rose bowling ball from Kingpin for $350,000 (£276,454) and Tobey Maguire's black symbiote suit from 2007's Spider-Man 3 for $125,000 (£98,743).