It has been quite some time since Hollywood has produced a hit movie centered around an adorable dog, but that may very well change next year. That being said, the movie is coming from a very unlikely source. Blumhouse, the studio behind Paranormal Activity and Sinister, is making a Benji reboot and it is filming right now. The studio also recently announced the cast for the movie, who also have a history with horror flicks.
Deadline is reporting that the cast for the new Benji movie will be headlined by Kiele Sanchez, who is known for her roles in The Purge: Anarchy and the TV series Kingdom. Other members of the cast included Gabriel Bateman, Darby Camp, Will Rothhaar, Angus Sampson and Jerod Haynes. The report also noted that the movie is already in production in New Orleans.
Brandon Camp is taking over the reigns of the franchise from his father Joe, who originally brought Benji to life on the big screen in 1974. Brandon Camp is writing and directing a new tale that will take place in modern day. The movie won't feature the original dog, because he has been dead for several decades, but it will feature a recently rescued 'Benji' dog. Camp partnered with Blumhouse Productions because the micro-budget studio is allowing him the freedom to create the movie he wants to make, which he has been trying to make for a few years now. The scenario is very similar to what his dad Joe Camp did back four decades ago with the original Benji.
Deadline also noted that renowned animal consultant Mark Forbes is no board for the Benji reboot. His previous credits include movies like We Bought a Zoo, Marley & Me as well as Doctor Dolittle. Blumhouse is mostly known for making horror movies for very low budgets, which typically turn a pretty good profit. The studio has dipped their toes in other genres before, having had a hand in the Oscar winner Whiplash, as well as the more family friendly Jen and the Holograms. Granted, Jen and the Holograms was a major box office bomb, but that was a rare misstep for the production company.
The original Benji was made outside of the studio system and became a blockbuster hit, grossing nearly $40 million, which was quite a bit back in 1974. The movie spawned several sequels and spinoffs, but there hasn't been any sort of Benji movie since 2004's Benji Off the Leash, which wasn't very successful. It has been promised that Blumhouse's horror genre ways will not seep into this first reboot, so don't expect to see a Cujo-esque version of the family-friendly dog anytime soon. At the moment, there is no release date set for the Benji reboot, but given that production is already underway, it is likely the movie will come out sometime next year.