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Cannes opens with DiCaprio film

The Great Gatsby's director Baz Luhrmann says he didn't expect rave reviews for the film.

The 3-D adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, is set to open the Cannes Film Festival, which began on a rainy Wednesday.

In a press conference at the famous film festival, the cast came in sailing on popular success if not great reviews.

"I knew that would come," said the director, noting the initially poor critical response in 1925 to the novel. "I just care that people are going out there and seeing it."

But Gatsby opened with a strong performance at the box office, taking in 51.1 million dollars. The film is making its European premiere at Cannes on Wednesday night, nearly a week after opening in North America.

Such timing is atypical for Cannes, but the glamorous, flashy film is otherwise perfectly in line with the glitzy festival. It also returns Leonardo, who stars as Jay Gatsby, to the festival's famous red carpet.

After the director noted that the film had pushed Fitzgerald's novel to the top of the bestseller list (selling more copies in a week than in the author's lifetime), Leonardo added with a grin: "And a little film adaptation is doing quite well at the box office."

Steven Spielberg is serving as jury president of this year's Cannes, presiding over a particularly starry group including Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee and Christoph Waltz. They were to be introduced later Wednesday ahead of the evening opening ceremony.

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