On the eve of the film'sinternational premiere in the Cannes market, Arclight Films has signed on as'subagent' for the Australian comedy Strange Bedfellows, which openedstrongly enough to claim third place in the local weekend box office charts.

The film sold A$1,373,957worth of tickets from 194 screens during the five-day long weekend to April 26for distributor Becker. In the lead was newcomer Kill Bill Vol. 2 with Starsky& Hutch second in its third week.

Audiences opted to see Paul"Crocodile Dundee" Hogan and Michael "The Castle"Caton pretending to be gay to trick the tax man, rather than listening to thecritics. The result was the best for a locally-financed Australian film since Crackerjack18 months ago, which earned about the same amount over its first four days and finally grossing A$7.7m.

Melbourne-based productioncompany Instinct Entertainment plans to capitalise on the attention bypublicising its planned move into international sales and Australian theatricaldistribution.

David Redman, one of fourprincipals, said I.E Australia will operate via joint ventures with localdistributors and I.E International will work with sub-agents and be representedin Europe and the US by Thomas Augsberger, principal of LA-based Eden RockMedia.

Augsberger is executiveproducer and international rights holder of Strange Bedfellows, and wasinvolved on Instinct's earlier film Till Human Voices Wake Us when hewas still at Key Entertainment.

"I.E Entertainment willprimarily be for projects produced by Instinct but we will consider finishedfilms," said Redman.

"We want to rapidlyexpand and produce three films in the next four years using internationalindependent financing models. We have 20 films in various stages of developmentincluding three finished scripts."

Most advanced is thesupernatural thriller Cradlewood, written by Stephen Sewell to bedirected by Harry Weinmann, and the fantasy film The Wind In The Tree,written by Chris McKenna and Eric Manchester to be directed by Strange Bedfellowsdirector Dean Murphy, who is also an Instinct principal.

Instinct has the backing ofInternational Film Fund, a group of eight Australian investors who put up salesadvances, starting with Strange Bedfellows.