Walden Media Looking to Bring Lovable 'Benji' Back to Big Screen
Since favorite canines like Scooby-Doo and Marmaduke have made a launch to the big screen, why not bring back a scruffy, lovable dog who doesn't sound like a smart-ass or get scared by ghosts? Variety reports Walden Media, the Fox-based company behind the Chronicles of Narnia franchise, is looking to reboot the family friendly franchise Benji with the Brandon Camp, son of franchise creator Joe Camp Jr., to write direct and produce a film to bring the dog back to the big screen. While Benji may be a family favorite for some, the motivation behind this new project isn't exactly one of creative necessity, and actually sounds like a desperate snag for money.
Camp is quoted as saying that this is a great time for the return of Benji "from a business point of view." While most recognizable brands and characters are heading to the big screen because they're more likely to rake in some serious dough, I'm not sure one needs to come right out and say that they're doing it for the money. Of course, maybe his honesty is to be admired since he's not simply blowing smoke up our asses. Of course, Camp does go on to say, "Many companies are interested in bringing back a project purely for the namesake and not the storytelling." So I guess he cares about the story, too. Either way, I'm not sure this film is going to fare well after Benji: Off the Leash bombed in theaters back in 2004.
Even though the motivations behind this new project from Camp may be somewhat foggy, he's at least being noble in his approach to finding a dog to become the titular canine. Camp says, ""My fantasy is to find a stray. The original Benji, the one most of us grew up with, is the look that I'll be going for." Apparently the writer/director/producer will partner with rescue organizations nationwide to screen test dogs in pounds for the part. He may find a dog with the right look, but one that's well-trained enough to "act" in a feature film won't be an easy task and training one is just going to take more time. Maybe it's because I didn't really love Benji as a child that I'm not all that interested in this reboot, but I can't imagine it doing all that well now. How about you?