UK distributor OptimumReleasing is teaming with Aussie distributor Madman Entertainment for a jointventure home entertainment business, Optimum Madman.

Optimum Madman will acquirehome video products to be distributed both in the UK and Australia.

Optimum Madman's firstrelease will be Bill Melendez'1979 animated film The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe. (Disney'snew live-action version of The Chronicles Of Narnia will hit theatres December 9.)

The venture has alsoacquired Guillermo del Toro's 1993 debut feature Cronos as well as the 14 Sherlock Holmes Collection films of the 1930s and 1940s, starring BasilRathbone and Nigel Bruce.

"We are delighted to be branching out into differentterritories and working with our friends at Madman on what is set to be anexciting venture for both and represents both companies continuing growth,"said Will Clarke, managing director of Optimum.

Home video distributor anddigital rights management company Madman is privately owned by joint CEOs Tim Anderson and Paul Wiegard. Thecompany focuses on anime, world film, independents, and other special-interesttitles. Its 2005 releases include Howl's Moving Castle, Dig! and Ong Bak.