I, like many others, have a bunch of movie favorites I watched as a kid in the ’80s. Some well-known and enjoyed to this day; others much more obscure. One of the more obscure titles is 1987’s Benji the Hunted, part of the series of Benji the dog movies seen mostly in the ’70s and ’80s. How many of these Benji movies I actually saw, I couldn’t say, but Hunted has always stuck with me.
The series began in 1974 with the simply titled Benji, which was written, directed, and produced by Joe Camp. The movie did insanely well considering the year it was released, making $45 million at the box office on a $500,000 budget. Now comes word that the original is not only being remade by Camp’s son Brandon Camp, but it’s already begun filming.
Deadline reports that the movie has begun filming in New Orleans, and has revealed a cast. Starring is Kiele Sanchez (The Purge: Anarchy, LOST), Gabriel Bateman (Lights Out, Annabelle), Darby Camp (Big Little Lies, The Leftovers), Will Rothhaar (Battle Los Angeles, Hearts in Atlantis), Angus Sampson (Insidious, Fargo, 100 Bloody Acres), and Jerod Haynes (Empire, Sense 8).
The new Benji was actually first announced back in May with the introduction of the dog that will be playing the title role this time around. For whatever reason I missed that announcement, so this news was new to me. A video of that introduction can be found below if you too missed it.
Camp partnered with Blumhouse to produce and help finance the movie, so the property should fit right in given its past. Blumhouse is known for low-budget feature films that often do big business, such as the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Purge movies (hence some of the castings). Also helping to finance the project is Meridian Entertainment, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Cohenkids, and Anton Corp.
The movie also has animal trainer Mark Forbes working on it. His past credits include Doctor Dolittle, Evan Almighty, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Marley & Me, Hotel for Dogs, Zookeeper, and We Bought a Zoo. So Benji the dog should be in good hands.