The film was released on November 22, 2006 and was a box office bomb. The soundtrack, The Pick of Destiny, was also released in 2006 as the band's second studio album.
As a young man, JB (Jack Black) leaves his religious family and oppressive Midwestern town for Hollywood on a quest to form the world's most awesome rock band. There he meets acoustic guitarist KG (Kyle Gass), who is performing on the street, and begins worshipping him as a rock god because of his skills and attitude. KG feeds JB's fantasy by pretending to be famous with a self-named band ("The Kyle Gass Project"), and exploits him to do work such as cleaning his apartment and buying him weed (under the promise that JB can audition for his fictitious band.) After JB learns KG is actually unemployed and living off his parents, the two become equal, and KG apologizes to JB by giving him a brand-new guitar. They create their own band: Tenacious D, named for birthmarks found on their buttocks. (JB has a birthmark which says: "Tenac", and KG has a mark which reads: "ious D".)
Soon JB and KG learn the deepest secret of rock: all the rock legends used the same guitar pick, The Pick of Destiny, which has supernatural powers. It was created by a dark wizard from a piece of Satan's tooth, as a gift to a blacksmith who saved his life from the great demon. The pick gives its holder unnatural abilities with stringed instruments. Infatuated by the prospect of becoming the next great rock star, JB immediately sets Tenacious D on a quest to steal the Pick of Destiny from a rock history museum. Along the way, the band briefly splits up, when KG decides that sex comes first in "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll", while JB wants to stick to the mission at hand.
But soon, JB and KG come back together when they realize they need each other as friends. The two manage to steal the Pick of Destiny due to incompetent security at the rock museum. Armed with this supernatural pick, they plan to use the winnings from a local bar's talent contest to pay their rent, but before they can go on stage, greed overcomes them, and they fight over the pick, snapping it in half accidentally. After a pep-talk from the bar's owner, they decide they are good enough to go onto the contest without the pick, not knowing that the owner is Satan in human form, looking for his missing tooth piece. Coming back outside (deciding they can both use half of the pick), they are confronted by Satan, who is "complete" when he places the Pick of Destiny back on his broken tooth, giving him the ability to use his supernatural powers on Earth. He threatens to make Tenacious D his first victim.
To save their lives, Tenacious D challenge Satan to a "rock-off", which he cannot deny, as the "demon code" strictly forbids him from declining such a challenge. As the bargain goes, if Tenacious D wins, Satan must return to hell on his own and pay their rent. But if Satan wins, he gets to take KG back with him as a sex slave. Ultimately, they lose (KG sings, "That was a masterpiece! / He rocks too hard because he's not a mortal man."), and Satan attempts to shoot KG with a bolt of energy. JB jumps in the way, and the bolt bounces off his guitar, blowing off a piece of Satan's horn. JB is able to send him back to Hell with a magical incantation. (As explained earlier, should Satan become "incomplete", he can be banished from the Earth with said incantation.)
The two turn Satan's horn into the "Bong of Destiny" and the movie closes with the two smoking from it as they write new songs.Jack Black as Jack "Jables/JB" Black
Troy Gentile as young JB
Kyle Gass as Kyle "Kage/KG" Gass
JR Reed as Lee
Ronnie James Dio as himself
Dave Grohl as Satan
Ben Stiller as Guitar Center Guy
Paul F. Tompkins as Open Mic Host
Tim Robbins as The Stranger
John C. Reilly as Sasquatch
Meat Loaf as Bud Black
Cynthia Ettinger as Betty Black
Andrew Caldwell as Billy Black
Amy Poehler as Truck Stop Waitress
Colin Hanks as Drunk Frat Dude
Amy Adams as Gorgeous Woman
Gregg Turkington as Stand Up Comic (credited as Neil Hamburger)
Evie Peck as KG's Mother
Jason Segel as Frat Boy #1
David Krumholtz as Frat Boy #2
Fred Armisen as Security Guard #1
Ned Bellamy as Security Guard #2
Jay Johnston as Gang Member #1
John Ennis as Gang Member #2
David Koechner as Surplus Store Clerk (deleted scene)
The film performed poorly at the box office, only grossing a total of $8.2 million in the United States. It debuted with a mere $3 million during its opening weekend at number eleven.
Jack Black agreed to a paycut from his standard $12 million fee to $1 million that was then split between Black and Kyle Gass.
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny received mixed reviews from critics with a 54% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with several commentators impressed by the film's low-brow humor; the site's consensus states, "Tenacious D fan will find this movie hilarious; everybody else will see only a low-brow concept movie and a small assembly of jokes stretched past the 100 minute mark." Michael Phillips criticized the frequency of the drug-use by saying: "This may be the problem. Pot rarely helped anybody's comic timing." Stephen Holden of The New York Times suggested that the film could be viewed as a "jolly rock 'n' roll comedy", but he also described the progression of the film as being a "garish mess."
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny was released by New Line Home Video on February 27, 2007 on DVD. A version sold by retail chain Best Buy came with an extra disc with exclusive footage. Wal-Mart customers received a copy of the CD More Rocktastic Music from the Film bundled with the DVD. In Japan there was a box deluxe edition released which came with a t-shirt.
A few years after the main release came out, in 2008, the movie was re-released and bundled with Run, Fat Boy, Run and Dumb And Dumber in a three disc set for the United States and Canada whereas for the UK there was a three disc set with Fracture and The Alibi. The Australian re-release featured the movie with Be Kind Rewind in a two disc set as well as another set with the film being bundled with Grandma's Boy.
The soundtrack, the band's second studio album, includes vocals by Ronnie James Dio and Meat Loaf. Dave Grohl plays drums on the album, as he did on their first album, Tenacious D (2001). Grohl also contributes his vocals on "Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)", as Satan. An edited version of the album was also released, replacing all of the profanity with made-up nonsense words.
The score by Andrew Gross, John King and Trainwreck, More Rocktastic Music from the Film, was released in limited quantities to Wal-Mart stores. They have made an original soundtrack from the movie also. The score was orchestrated by Richard Bronskill and Tony Blondal, and recorded with a large orchestra and choir at the Sony Scoring Stage, in Culver City, Ca.
In their 2012 album Rize of the Fenix, Tenacious D reference the film's relative unpopularity with the opening lyrics "When The Pick Of Destiny was released, it was a bomb". The 2012 EP Jazz also references the film, when Jack Black sings, "Who put Beelzeboss into my jazz?"
In 2016, ten years after the release of the movie, Tenacious D performed at the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals in June, and at the Bråvalla and Roskilde festivals in July. All shows featured a large Pick of Destiny backdrop during the performance.