15/05/2013 19:25 BST | Updated 15/07/2013 06:12 BST

CANNES FILM FESTIVAL: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan On Red Carpet For 'The Great Gatsby' Premiere (Pictures)

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, opened 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."

Baz Luhrman with his 'Great Gatsby' star Carey Mulligan on the red carpet at Cannes

But Gatsby opened with a strong performance at the box office, taking in $51.1 million. The film made 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 returned Leonardo, who stars as Jay Gatsby, to the festival's famous red carpet.

Leonardo DiCaprio back on the red carpet, starring as Jay Gatsby

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.