Baz Luhrmann's extravagant adaptation of The Great Gatsby has opened to big audiences on its opening weekend in Australian cinemas, grossing $6.78 million.
The film opened to tepid reviews in its international premiere in the US and at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was the opening night film. (SBS Film was one of the first Australian reviews of the film – read our verdict here).
Since opening in Australia, Luhrmann's film has found a warmer response with some Australian critics, who have lauded its production values and stylistic representation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz-age tale.
The first week's takings caused delighted distributor Roadshow Pictures to claim the film as the biggest opening weekend for an Australian film, ever. In claiming the top spot, Luhrmann knocked George Miller's Happy Feet from the top spot, which took $6.596m in its opening weekend in December 2006.
Luhrmann's other polarising epic, Australia, now sits at number three in the list, given its November 2008 opening weekend takings of $6.397m .
Tomorrow When the War Began (September 2010 opening weekend takings of $3.874m) and Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge (May 2001 opening weekend takings of $3.658m) round out the top five, in the list compiled by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (n.b. figures are not adjusted for inflation).
In the US, The Great Gatsby film has reaped $128million to date, and the New York Times is tipping final returns in excess of US$300million.