The New Benji Trailer is finally here:
“Netflix is hoping to learn some new tricks from an old dog,” reported the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.
“The streaming video behemoth has acquired the rights to a new 2018 version of the classic family film Benji, featuring the canine character that became an unlikely box-office sensation in the 1970s and ’80s. After this film premiers in March the company has the option to partner on sequels or a TV series, furthering its venture into family programming.”
Brandon Camp, the youngest son of Benji creator Joe Camp, said, “Netflix is the ideal alternative for families who want to watch engaging, inspiring films with their kids, and kids who want to watch them over and over.” The younger Camp wrote and directed the new Benji film, number six for the floppy-eared star.
“If you are an owner of family-oriented premium content that has any kind of brand or franchise value, you are in a great position right now,” said Peter Csathy, chairman of the tech advisory firm Creatv Media. “The war is on and it’s all about amassing the largest army of compelling franchises that you can.”
“Benji’s journey into streaming offers a lesson in deal making in the Netflix era,” the Times article continued.
“People all over the world grew up having watched Benji with their families,” Scott Stuber, head of original film at Netflix, said in a statement to the Times. “We knew this film will allow our members around the world to keep sharing this story with their families.”
“In our release of the original Benji adult ticket sales out-numbered kid tickets by a figure of 2:1,” Joe Camp added. “Benji’s movies are truly enjoyed by all ages, but in Los Angeles today it can cost as much as $125 for a family of five to go to the movies. We believe that family streaming is the future and we’re very proud that Netflix has chosen Benji to lead this charge.”
The smoke from a huge, black cigar lay heavy across the room, stirred only by the cigar itself as it leaped from mouth to hand, swirled and circled up from the chair, danced across the huge office, then paused to jab at the air like a driving piston.
Ed and I sat in stunned silence. There was a dank, black empty feeling oozing down over me. Cold and distant, yet agonizingly painful. The words spewing from the smoke of the fat man’s cigar, were going astray, some hitting, some missing. I was drifting in and out. Had all of this been for nothing? The question was directed at God. With attitude I’m afraid. The years of preparation? The experience? The planning? The dreams?
“Totally wrong for Paramount!’ barked the mouth behind the cigar. “It’s too damn sweet. And the music is… well… it’s… it’s too sticky… it’s all wrong. If you cut the Clairol sequence, we might try something with Saturday matinees, but beyond that… I mean, at night it doesn’t have a chance!”
The words fell out of his mouth like crystal shattering on a tile floor. We had tried Disney. And Fox, and MGM, and Warner Brothers. Everybody! This simply couldn’t be happening!
We couldn’t get a distributor. No one wanted it. Not one. Zero.
The following summer Variety reported that the movie Benji had the #3 box office gross in all the land. Most of it with adults. At night.
God’s hand at work. Up close and personal.
I was miserable. Benji Off the Leash was not doing well.
“But what’s the point?” I said.
“It’s been playing for nine days. How many people have seen it?” The speaker was famed Radio talk show host Hank Hanegraaf.
I thought about it for a moment, did the math.
“Maybe a million.”
“So a million people have already seen the movie. There’s one point. A million lives have been made better, have been changed, because of that movie. And God is not finished. You will look back some day and not even believe what all came out of this moment in time.”
“You mean I’ll look back and be able to see how much God had to slap me around to get me to listen?”
“That for sure,” he grinned. “And a whole lot more.”
I smiled. A little.
For the first time in nine days.
I had no idea how true Hank Hanegraaf’s words would turn out to be.
Brandon, my youngest, sent these photos of the production office walls in New Orleans where he is directing the next Benji movie. The only caption was “Dear Dad… The world you created lives on.” Sniff. Can’t wait to visit this weekend.
I grabbed Carolyn’s hand as we stepped off the train. A nervous chill of anticipation skittered up my spine. People were rushing past us, anxious to get on with their morning, and we timidly tried to keep up. Someone spoke, and smiled, then spoke again and hurried off. The words meant nothing, but we smiled back just the same.
I was bristling with excitement. Gone were the miseries of the long, sleepless flight over. Gone were the first flashes of Milano, seen as a drowsy blur of television stations and newspaper reporters. Now, after a good night’s sleep on a long train ride, my senses were alive and tingling again and the whole feeling was like I had dozed off in Dallas and awakened here.
It was our first trip abroad and my first time out of the country except for three days in Nassau and a few hours in Juarez. So, maybe you can imagine. I mean, anywhere would’ve been terrific, but we weren’t just anywhere. We were in Rome!
The Eternal City. Born nine hundred years before Christ. Home of Cato, Nero, Constantine and the Caesars. A magical place where it is said, you can actually hear the breathing of the centuries; Read More→