The film was heavily panned by critics and audiences alike for its forced humor, excessive references and poor directing. The movie received six nominations for the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards. It received a 1% score on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes and is considered by some to be one of the worst films of all time. It grossed nearly $35 million against a budget of $20 million.
In the year 10,001 B.C., a caveman runs away from a predator through a plain and immediately gets into a fight with Wolf (Ike Barinholtz). After defeating him, the caveman then encounters the predator, a saber-toothed, gasoline-drinking Amy Winehouse (Nicole Parker), who informs him that the world will end on August 29, 2008 and that their fate lies in a Crystal Skull. The sequence is then revealed to be a dream of Will (Matt Lanter) in the present day. He then finds out that his girlfriend Amy (Vanessa Minnillo) is having an affair with Flavor Flav (Abe Spigner), and she breaks up with Will because he is not admitting his true feelings for her.
Later that day, Will has a "Super Duper Sweet Sixteen" party at his house, despite being 25. The guests include Juney (Crista Flanagan), Dr. Phil (John Di Domenico), Will's best friend Calvin (Gary "G Thang" Johnson), and Anton Chigurh (Barinholtz), among others. During the party, Amy arrives with her new boyfriend, a Calvin Klein underwear model. The party then comes to a halt when the room shakes and the lights go out. A bulletin on the radio claims there is a meteor shower and it is the end of the world. Soon after, the city starts to freeze over, and Will, Juney, Calvin, and Calvin's girlfriend Lisa (Kim Kardashian) retreat to a garage for shelter. When Juney mentions that the calamities are caused by global warming, Will realizes his dream about Amy Winehouse could be related. Later, Will is chided by the others for not committing himself to his relationship with Amy.
The gang leaves the garage and Will gets a call from Amy, where he admits his feelings for her before the call is dropped. He decides to go to rescue Amy. Lisa is later killed by a meteor. While the others comfort a distraught Calvin, the Enchanted Princess (Parker), a prostitute, climbs out of a manhole and gets hit by a taxi. Calvin catches her, and they immediately fall in love with each other. The Princess' pimp, Prince Edwin (Tad Hilgenbrink), challenges Calvin to a dance fight for her love, but a tornado appears and Prince Edwin escapes. Iron Man (Gerrard Fachinni), Hellboy (Barinholtz), and the Hulk (Roland Kickinger) attempt to fight it, but all are defeated by cows thrown by the tornado. After taking shelter, Will, Juney, Calvin, and the Princess encounter rabid knockoffs of Alvin and the Chipmunks, who attack the gang and kill Juney. The Chipmunks then go after Will and Calvin, but they trap them in a trash can, fatally suffocating them as they attempt to escape.
On their way to the museum where Amy is trapped, the group runs into Batman, who informs them that they must go to evacuation buses and that there will be no chance of survival if they go to save Amy. With time against them, the Princess Giselle kills Speed Racer (Jared S. Eddo), and the group hijacks his Mach Five to drive to the museum. At the museum, they save Amy, who reveals that the Crystal Skull is the only thing that can stop the end of the world. Calvin and the Princess then find that the museum doors are closed and all of the artifacts have come alive, including Kung Fu Panda (Yoshio Iizuka), who fights Calvin but is defeated. When Calvin makes out with the Princess, Calvin accidentally pulls her wig and discovers that she is actually a transvestite. While this happens, Kung Fu Panda takes out a katana and kills Calvin and the Princess.
Meanwhile, Will and Amy run into a nude Beowulf (Barinholtz), who fights with Will. After Beowulf is defeated, Will and Amy encounter Indiana Jones (Tony Cox), who is revealed to be Will's father. Indy tries to put the Crystal Skull on the altar, but he has an accident. Will does it instead, and he averts further destruction. The film ends with a wedding ceremony for Will and Amy being performed by The Guru Shitka (Domenico). The film ends with an extensive musical number about all of the characters dating each other, which sets off a chain, ending with the Chipmunks.
Disaster Movie was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 1% based on 71 reviews with an average rating of 1.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Returning to their seemingly bottomless well of flatulence humor, racial stereotypes, and stalepop culture gags, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have produced what is arguably their worst Movie yet." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 15 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "F" on an A+ to F scale.
It was featured in Empire's 50 Worst Movies Ever poll, Total Film's 66 Worst Movies Ever list and the MRQE's 50 Worst Movies list (where it holds a score of 17, the lowest score on the site). Disaster Movie became the lowest ranked film on IMDb's Bottom 100 list days after its premiere.
Jason Solomons of The Guardian wrote that "Nothing can convey the grimness of Disaster Movie, which would be the Worst Movie Ever Made were it actually a movie at all." Adam Tobias of the Watertown Daily Times opined, "I just don't see how anyone could not find Disaster Movie one of the worst films of all time," further adding that the title of the film was appropriate, because the movie is "a disaster." The Times newspaper named the film the worst of 2008.
The only positive review posted on Rotten Tomatoes was by Jim Schembri from Australian newspaper The Age. Schembri called it "dumb but also undeniably funny in more spots than a right-thinking mature person feels comfortable admitting", the film was given 3½ stars out of five.
The most positive major critic review listed on either Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes was by Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, who gave the film a C+ and remarked: "The movie is merciless sending up Juno's self-satisfied hipster gobbledygook, and it's quite funny to see Hannah Montana still promoting her tie-in products as she lies crushed and dying under a meteor." Gleiberman previously contributed the only positive review listed on either site (out of 17 at Metacritic and 57 at Rotten Tomatoes) of Friedberg and Seltzer's earlier effort Epic Movie.
On its domestic theatrical debut, Disaster Movie grossed $2,023,130 on its opening day, $5,836,973 over the three-day weekend, and $6,945,535 over the four-day weekend (including Labor Day). It ranked #7 for both the three- and four-day weekends. The film's takings for the weekend fell far short of the $17 million predicted by the Dallas Morning News. The film was not as commercially successful as previous Friedberg/Seltzer releases. On a $20 million budget, it grossed $14,190,901 domestically and $17,492,474 overseas for a worldwide total of $31,683,375, less than half the gross of Meet the Spartans.
The DVD and Blu-ray was released on January 6, 2009. They both included an Unrated "Cataclysmic" Edition and a theatrical version, both with the same extras. About 410,934 DVD units were sold, bringing in $8,447,690 in revenue (updated October 2009).
On January 21, 2009, the film received six nominations for the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards. The nominations were for Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actress (Electra), Worst Supporting Actress (Kardashian), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel. Kardashian acknowledged her nomination on her blog, where she commented, "It's an honor just being nominated!"