Dealing with Box Office Bombs

Doug Richardson recalls his experience writing and producing the box-office flop Welcome to Mooseport and how may have worked out fine in the end.

I don’t talk too much about Welcome to Mooseport. Not so much because it was a box office bomb. On second thought, maybe so, because one needs to know the film actually exists before I can talk about it, right?

The movie was born late one night while the War Department and I lay in bed. We’d been watching some news stories about the end of the Clinton presidency when she wondered aloud what the former Horndog in Chief would do after departing the White House.

“I dunno,” I said. “Can’t imagine Bill Clinton not running for something. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up running for mayor somewhere.”

The War Department laughed. And so it began. For the next twenty minutes or so, I joked aloud about a popular ex-president who retires to his Kennebunkport-like summer home to pen his memoirs. Instead, he gets wrangled into some local politics and is asked to help some town fathers out of a legal bind by filling in as mayor. Thinking the move would be good national PR for his upcoming book, the former president agrees to help out, only to discover the owner of the local hardware store had also thrown his hat into the mayoral ring. With both men having too much pride to step aside, the race is on. The story leaks and becomes national news. And when the ex-president assembles the team from his last national campaign, the majority of the country’s political media descends on the small Maine town. It’s David versus Goliath. Comedy ensues. The end.

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