Todd-AO, Klein in prod’n venture

This article was corrected on October 12, 1992. Robert Kline’s name was misspelled Wednesday in a headline about Todd-AO’s venture with Kline’s TAE Prods.

Todd-AO Corp. is getting into the development and production business.

In exchange, the post-production company expects to boost the use of its facilities in Hollywood and New York.

In a unique deal, Todd-AO linked up with Robert Kline’s TAE Prods. two months ago to develop TV and feature projects.

Todd is underwriting the new Todd-AO/TAE operation, and picking up the tab for scripts and development costs. All the projects, when in post-production, would use the sound facilities at either Glen Glenn or Todd-AO’s East Coast house.

The deal runs for two years, with an option for another year. The amount of the cash involved was undisclosed, but for nine months of 1992, Todd-AO Corp. earned $ 2 million in profits on $ 21.8 million in sales.

“Frankly, we looked at the venture on its own. It was niche opportunity,” says J.R. DeLang, executive VP of Todd-AO/Glen Glenn Studios. “Then, we saw the tie-in.”

Dozen-plus projects

Already, Kline has over a dozen projects in the works, topped by “Dear Rosie, ” a comedy in association with Sigourney Weaver’s Goat Cay Prods., in development for 20th Century Fox.

“The money’s there for acquiring books, scripts and producing rewrites,” says Kline.

“In the two months, we couldn’t be more pleased with the support from Todd-AO.”

Prior to this deal, TAE has its hands in as a producer on Oliver Stone’s newest pic on Vietnam, “When Heaven & Earth Changed Places.”

It also is a producer of a Renny Harlin project at Carolco, “Warriors of the Rainbow,” about Greenpeace, scripted by John Briley and David Williamson.

Character-driven scripts

Kline is tending toward character-drive material, and has picked up “The Charm School,” a novel by Nelson DeMille, about Vietnam MIAs in Russia, as well as “Ants of God,” a novel from W.T. Tyler, a contemporary love story/action adventure in East Africa.

Kline also expects to get into TV, with an eye to reality-based programs, a la “Rescue 911.” He has produced a string of TV documentaries for ABC and others.

Going forward, Todd-AO/TAE will move into co-producing some projects with the help of foreign financing.

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