8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter

2012-17 END Bruce Willis Demi Moore P
Wenn Photos/Newscom

Willis and Moore kept all of Cannes waiting at "The Fifth Element's" festival opening.

The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.

In 1997, the Cannes Film Festival wanted a splashy opening-night movie for its 50th anniversary, and The Fifth Element, starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, delivered a glitz tsunami. A record 10,000 spectators lined the Croisette for the May 7 event, broadcast live on French TV. One glitch came after the 2,400 black-tie guests were seated, but Willis and wife Demi Moore arrived 20 minutes late -- leaving director Luc Besson to wait curbside with cameras rolling. "It was painful, like childbirth," said Besson. It was not Moore's first misadventure at Cannes. The day before, a stop by the Croisette's Gucci store drew a crowd of 300 that shut down the road for 45 minutes. The same day, at a contentious press conference, Willis said of Fifth Element's less-than-great reviews: "People who make films don't care what a reviewer says." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the opening-night crowd's reaction to the film was "a polite but not sustained round of applause." But the afterparty, wrote THR, "left attendees awed by its panache and spectacle." Entry to the multimillion-dollar affair's one-acre replica of the movie's spaceship was granted to only 500 guests whose ticket was a specially designed Swatch watch, and the event also featured a fashion show by Jean Paul Gaultier, now a 2012 juror who made 954 costumes for the film. Despite the extravagance and mixed reviews, France's Gaumont Film came out in the black. Fifth Element was a box-office success, grossing $263 million -- three-quarters from overseas markets.