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Cannes opens with DiCaprio, Spielberg

  • Cannes Preview_Cala.jpg

    This film publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in a scene from "The Great Gatsby." The film will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival running from May 15 to May 26. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Daniel Smith)

  • France Cannes The Gre_Cala.jpg

    Actor Leonardo DiCaprio listens to questions from journalists during a press conference for the film The Great Gatsby at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

  • France Cannes Jury Co_Cala.jpg

    Director and jury president Steven Spielberg arrives for cocktails at the Martinez Hotel at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)AP2013

The Cannes Film Festival got under way with a blockbuster day of Steven Spielberg and Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby."

The French Riviera extravaganza began on a rainy Wednesday, where the prestigious festival was to open with the 3-D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.

In a press conference Wednesday, the cast came in sailing on popular success, if not great reviews.

"I knew that would come," said Luhrmann, 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. 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 DiCaprio, who stars as Jay Gatsby, to Cannes' famous red carpet.

After Luhrmann 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), DiCaprio added with a grin: "And a little film adaptation is doing quite well at the box office."

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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