Benji™ has starred in four motion pictures, three of which have grossed within the coveted top 10% of motion picture grosses for the year of release. 71,000,000 people, more than half of them adults, have watched Benji in movie theaters.
"Benji: Off The Leash!" opens August 20th in theaters nationwide. The 3 1/2-year-old female star of the movie wandered the streets Pass Christian, Mississippi before being picked up by county animal control. In November, 2001, she was adopted by Benji creator Joe Camp, and, after competing for a little less than a month with dogs from Chicago and Los Angeles ultimately became the new Benji. In the Spring of 2003, she began filming her first theatrical motion picture with most of the weight of the movie on her back… so there's a lot to be absorbed.
While the plot is similar to Benji's real life struggles, the movie strives for humor. Benji, who plays a male in the movie, is given a comical sidekick dog to make his journey more entertaining. Benji's creator, Joe Camp, calls the new Benji the very best ever! Between sessions with trainer Anne Gordon, the new Benji has spent three weeks in Camp's family home with his wife Kathleen and his three step-children. "This is one amazing dog," says Camp. "Those eyes simply melt everyone she comes in contact with, and she is absolutely the brightest of some very bright predecessors. She picks things up so fast it'll make your head swim. And you can literally drop her into any situation and she feels perfectly comfortable, perfectly confident in herself to deal with it."
Here are some facts about Benji:
Benji television specials have twice topped the night in ratings, one receiving a phenomenal 39% share. Over one billion people worldwide have watched Benji on television.
Benji properties (motion pictures, television, publishing, product licensing) have cumulatively grossed (at retail) over $230,000,000 (unadjusted dollars).
The original Benji™ was listed by Variety as the #3 box office gross for the year, behind Jaws and The Towering Inferno.
All movies starring Benji as himself (excluding Oh Heavenly Dog in which he and Chevy Chase played the same character) have scored in the top 10% of all movies for the year of release.
Two of Benji's television specials have been nominated for Emmys.
The title theme of the film Benji was nominated for an Oscar, and won the Golden Globe Award.
Benji has twice been awarded AGVA's Animal Entertainer of the year award.
Benji has been a frequent visitor to various top ten popularity lists, including Performer Q.
A Young Miss magazine poll ranked Benji #5 among all males.
Benji has partnered with Pets911.com, the nation's largest shelter adoption service, to promote the adoption of pets who desperately need homes.
Benji was the second animal ever to be inducted into the Animal Actors Hall of Fame.
USA Today ranked Benji the Hunted third best among all of the summer's hot movie releases.
Benji & Me, a book detailing Benji's phenomenal rise to international stardom, was published in 2000 (revised and updated from the original printing entitled Underdog).
Video sales of Benji productions have surpassed 2,000,000. Benji and Benji's Very Own Christmas Story have been certified platinum; For the Love of Benji and Benji at Marineland are certified gold.
Benji is the subject of the extensive websites benjimovies.com, and benji.info which feature, for the first time ever, all of his movies and videos together at the same place; and provides fun and education for kids, and a forum where parents and teachers can discover strategies to help kids maximize their chance for success in school and life.
The American Humane has reported that because the original Benji was rescued from an animal shelter more than 1,000,000 dogs have been adopted across the country.
Since the last quarter of 2001, the Search for the New Benji and the ultimate introduction of the new Benji has generated more than 120,000,000 media exposures on television, radio, and in newspapers for the adoption efforts of animal shelters and rescue groups everywhere.
In January of 2002, the American Humane Society signed Benji to be the emotional face of their outreach programs for child education and pet adoption.
In May of 2002, the new Benji's trip to Washington D.C. to lobby congressional leaders on animal issues was covered on CNN for two days.
Benji, For the Love of Benji and Benji the Hunted combined to gross nearly $80 million US. The original Benji earned $39.5 million, an impressive haul in mid-1970s terms.
For more information, go to www.Benjireturns.com.