The 1980 Chevy Chase comedy Oh! Heavenly Dog is getting the remake treatment at Fox 2000, with the studio hiring Tim Hill (Hop) to direct. The filmmaker will also co-write the script with Dave Johnson. Temple Hill, the production company behind the young adult franchise The Maze Runner, are producing. The original movie was set up as a starring vehicle for Chevy Chase and his canine co-star Benji, who were equally popular back when the film was made, with the comedy existing solely on the box office draw of its marquee names.
The story centered on a private investigator (Chevy Chase) who is stabbed to death after discovering a dead body. It is decided that he won't go to Heaven or Hell, but instead is sent back to Earth as a dog, tasked with solving his own murder. The original comedy movie also starred Jane Seymour, Omar Sharif and Robert Morley. The dog was played by Benjean, daughter of the famous cinematic canine Benji, but was billed as Benji.
Brandon Camp, son of the original Oh! Heavenly Dog director Joe Camp, is producing alongside Temple Hill. No production schedule was given, and it isn't known if Chevy Chase himself will be involved in the remake. It seems unlikely, though, since the actor has called Oh! Heavenly Dog his worst movie ever. It is possible, however, that Benji could return with Brandon Camp serving as a producer. In 2012, he was attempting to mount a remake of Benji, and set about searching for a shelter dog that could take over the name.
Benji has been played by a number of canines over the years, first portrayed by a fourteen year old mutt named Higgins before his daughter Benjean took over the role. A distant relative of the father-daughter duo would later assume the role, and so would a shelter dog discovered in South Mississippi as the series ran the gamut from big screen outings, to TV specials, through a Saturday morning series, and even a comic strip. Since our initial report, there has been little movement on the remake. And it seems the producer is instead trying to mount this other remake instead. An official Facebook page was set up back in 2012, which still allows fans to share their dog's photos in case the next Benji is hiding amongst the common folk.
Tim Hill directed the original Alvin and the Chipmunks for Fox back in 2007, which jump-started a popular franchise. That comedy spawned the sequels Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel (2009), Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (2011) and this year's Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, hitting theaters December 23. Tim Hill's other directing credits include Muppets from Space, Max Keeble's Big Move, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, Hop and last year's Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.
Oh! Heavenly Dog only made $6.2 million when it was released in July 1980, where it had the misfortune of opening while Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back was still in theaters. The Star Wars sequel earned $6.6 million in its eighth week in theaters, trouncing Oh! Heavenly Dog, which made $323,320. Do you think this obscure comedy is worth remaking? Who would you like to see starring in this new version of Oh! Heavenly Dog?