Three of Benji’s movies have scored in the top 10% of box office for all movies in the year of release.
In 2018 Variety published an article entitled “The Best Movie Dogs of All Time” There were 20 in the list. Toto was #3… Lassie was #2… And Benji was #1. Quoting Variety: “Benji is a timeless family film about a tiny stray dog whose gentle soul touches everyone around him. There’s a feeling of naturalism and sincerity at work here that helps explain why this mischievous mixed-breed mutt holds such a firm place in the hearts of moviegoers around the world.” This article ran in Variety 44 years after the original Benji was released.
74,000,000 people – more than half of them adults – have watched Benji movies in theaters.
Benji television specials have twice topped the night in ratings, one receiving a phenomenal 39% share.
Over one billion people worldwide have watched Benji productions on television.
Two of Benji’s television specials have been nominated for Emmys. Benji at Work won Best Children’s Program
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 was the second animal ever to be inducted into the Animal Actors Hall of Fame (Lassie was first).
USA Today ranked Benji the Hunted third best among all of the summer’s hot movie releases.
In 2002, People Magazine placed the original Benji movie in their Top-twenty All-Time Must-See Family Movies.
In 2001, the Chicago Tribune named the original Benji movie one of the best family films of all times.
The American Humane Association has reported that because the original Benji was rescued from an animal shelter, more than 1,000,000 dogs were adopted from shelters across the country.
The 2001 search for Benji #3 in animal shelters across the country and the promotion of Benji Off the Leash cumulatively generated more than a billion media exposures for homeless animals and the adoption efforts of animal shelters and rescue groups everywhere.
Benji’s Film History
- 1973 – The original BENJI was filmed. Independently financed. Joe Camp wrote, produced and directed. Mulberry Square Productions was the production company.
- 1974 – Mulberry Square Releasing was formed as a subsidiary of Mulberry Square Productions to distribute Benji when it was turned down by every major studio in Hollywood for distribution. The picture was released on a limited test basis.
- 1975 – In May, Mulberry Square Releasing released BENJI, domestically & and internationally, from their offices in Dallas. Variety reported that it was the #3 movie of the year.
- 1976 – Began production on the feature film FOR THE LOVE OF BENJI. Independently financed. Joe wrote, exec-produced and directed.
- 1977 – Mulberry Square Releasing distributed FOR THE LOVE OF BENJI; domestically and internationally.
- 1977 – Produced THE PHENOMENON OF BENJI for ABC-TV, a thirty minute prime time special. Joe co-wrote, produced and co-directed. The show won the time slot and was in the top ten for the week.
- 1978 – Produced BENJI’S VERY OWN CHRISTMAS STORY for ABC-TV. Joe wrote, produced and directed. The 30-minute television special was filmed in Zermat Switzerland and Nice France; aired on ABC in prime time in December of 1978. Was nominated for an Emmy.
- 1979 – Began production on feature film: OH HEAVENLY DOG starring Benji and Chevy Chase. Financed by 20th Century Fox. Joe co-wrote, produced and directed.
- 1980 – Produced BENJI AT WORK for ABC-TV. Joe Camp exec-produced and co-wrote. The 30-minute special aired in prime time on ABC in May of 1980, and was nominated for an Emmy and won Best Children’s Program.
- 1980 – Twentieth Century-Fox released OH HEAVENLY DOG.
- 1981 – Produced BENJI AT MARINELAND for ABC-TV. Joe Camp co-wrote and directed; Carolyn Camp produced. Aired on ABC in prime time in May of 1981.
- 1982 – Released Benji, For the Love of Benji, and the four ABC Television specials on VHS Home Video. All titles were in the marketplace on VHS continuously until 2004, shortly after DVDs were introduced in 1997.
- 1983 – Produced BENJI, ZAX & THE ALIEN PRINCE for CBS Saturday morning television. 13 episodes. Aired on CBS Saturday mornings in 1983. Joe Camp directed; Carolyn Camp produced.
- 1984 – Fox released OH HEAVENLY DOG into the Home Video market on VHS.
- 1986 – Produced BENJI THE HUNTED. Independently financed. Joe wrote and directed; Carolyn Camp produced.
- 1987 – BENJI THE HUNTED was released by Disney in June of 1987
- 1988 – BENJI THE HUNTED released by Disney on VHS Home Video and began television airings that continue through today.
- 2003 – DVDs exploded with Disney’s Christmas release of Finding Nemo and a whole new world began.
- 2003 – Produced BENJI OFF THE LEASH. Independently financed. Joe wrote, produced and directed.
- 2004 – Mulberry Square Releasing distributed BENJI OFF THE LEASH. The film won the 2005 Genesis Award for Best Family Film and is a Readers Digest Family Favorite.
- 2004 – Theatrical films BENJI OFF THE LEASH, the original BENJI, FOR THE LOVE OF BENJI, and the four ABC Television specials, and all 13 episodes of BENJI, ZAX AND THE ALIEN PRINCE were released on DVD and have been in the marketplace continuously through today.
- 2005 – Fox released Oh Heavenly Dog on DVD and it has been in the marketplace continuously through today.
- 2006 – Disney released BENJI THE HUNTED on DVD and it has been in the marketplace continuously through today.
- 2010 – Streaming of the 5 theatricals and 4 ABC specials began on various platforms like iTunes and Amazon.
- 2016 – the next Benji film was produced, written and directed by Brandon Camp, Joe’s youngest son.
- 2017 – April 20th, the new Benji film is in the final stages of post production.
- 2017 – December 16 NETFLIX announced that it has chosen the new BENJI to lead their newly focused foray into family entertainment. Premiers in late March, 2018. READ MORE
- In 2018 Variety published an article entitled “The Best Movie Dogs of All Time” There were 20 in the list. Toto was #3… Lassie was #2… And Benji was #1. Quoting Variety: “Benji is a timeless family film about a tiny stray dog whose gentle soul touches everyone around him. There’s a feeling of naturalism and sincerity at work here that helps explain why this mischievous mixed-breed mutt holds such a firm place in the hearts of moviegoers around the world.” This, 44 years after the original Benji was released. See the full article: https://variety.com/gallery/best-movie-dogs-benji-beethoven/mulberry-square_kobal_rex_shutterstock-benji See the original Benji in glorious remastered wide screen and high definition on Netflix.
- 2018 – February 5th – A brand new restoration of the original Benji classic was released in High Definition Widescreen on BlueRay, DVD and Streaming. Same restoration for For the Love of Benji followed later in 2018. READ MORE
- 2018 – March 16 – Brandon Camp’s new Benji film premiered on NETFLIX.
“Benji isn’t a dog performing, but a dog acting, capturing rare feeling and almost human response.” – Variety
“Benji is truly remarkable.” – Hollywood Reporter
“Benji has the most expressive eyes in dogdom; he can make himself look more lost than any dog you’ve ever wanted to take home.” – Miami News
“The most appealing short movie star since Dustin Hoffman.” – CBS-TV
“Benji is a throwback to the great stars of the silents, truly Chaplinesque in his emotional responses.” – Memphis Commercial Appeal
“Benji has the most expressive face in dogdom” – Milwaukee Journal
“I’m ready to admit Benji would be a sure bet were an Academy Award ever offered in the canine division. His ability to sustain a mood in the face of manifold distractions is especially remarkable.” – Baltimore Sun
“The amazing thing is that Benji’s scruffy face seems capable of expressing any emotion you can think of.” – Christian Science Monitor
“Benji is brilliant – and unbelievable.” – United Press