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Walden Media Looking to Bring Lovable 'Benji' Back to Big Screen

by
December 1, 2010
Source: Variety

Benji

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?

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  • Film Fan
    Regardless of whether this happens or not, please PLEASE don't make him a talking dog. And no fart jokes.
  • Guy
    Benji? Never heard of it... BOMB.
  • President of Walden Media
    Guy said: Benji? Never heard of it… BOMB. Thanks for warning me Guy. Here I was foolishly thinking that the millions of Benji fans around the world would go see it. Sorry people, Guy says it will bomb, so I have no choice but to shelve the movie. Whew! That was close!
  • ChrisC5g
    Oh snap Benji lol let me load up my guns haha
  • Xerxex
    If they actually try here it could be a great return to Man's best friends films...
  • I hear Vincent Chase is in negotiations to star in this, but nothing's been finalized yet.
  • Voice of Reason
    This time Benji's owner is trapped in the internet by the evil LOLCats and only 3-D cyber-space-Benji can save them!!! OMG1!!! No...really.....take this idea back 'round the shed and put it down like Ol' Yeller
  • I am
    Benji is the ish and I would love to see a big budget behind this...
  • Glentheartist
    The original Benji film that started it all is absolutely beautiful in so many ways. It's a gem. The second film, "For The Love Of Benji," had a lot of potential and a great ending but the acting and script were poor. "Benji The Hunted" was heartfelt and fun but had no human characters. And the 2004 film was awful. Hopefully, Joe Camp's son can bring back the same magic that the first film had.

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