It's a Disaster

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It's a Disaster
It's a Disaster film festival poster.jpg
Film festival circuit poster
Directed by Todd Berger
Produced by Kevin M. Brennan
Jeff Grace
Gordon Buelonic
Datari Turner
Written by Todd Berger
Starring Rachel Boston
Kevin M. Brennan
David Cross
America Ferrera
Jeff Grace
Erinn Hayes
Blaise Miller
Julia Stiles
Music by Chris Martins
Cinematography Nancy Schreiber, ASC
Edited by Franklin Peterson
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories
Release dates
  • June 20, 2012 (2012-06-20) (Los Angeles Film Festival)
  • April 12, 2013 (2013-04-12) (United States)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $60,818[1]

It's a Disaster is a 2012 art-house black comedy film written and directed by Todd Berger. The film was made by Los Angeles-based comedy group The Vacationeers and stars Rachel Boston, David Cross, America Ferrera, Jeff Grace, Erinn Hayes, Kevin M. Brennan, Blaise Miller, Julia Stiles, and Todd Berger.[2][3] The film premiered on June 20, 2012, at the Los Angeles Film Festival.[4] It's a Disaster was commercially released in US theaters by Oscilloscope Laboratories, which acquired the US distribution rights to the film, on April 12, 2013.[5]


Four couples gather for a regular couple's brunch which, over the years, has devolved into a gathering fraught with tension and awkwardness. One guest is meeting the others for the first time, on his third date with the host's sister. As they settle into the afternoon (awaiting an "always late" fifth couple), they get to know the new member of the group and catch up on old times. When the men excuse themselves to watch football, they discover the TV, Internet and landline phone are down. When the host accuses his wife of not paying the bills, their upcoming divorce is revealed to the guests.

After a neighbor appears in a hazardous materials suit with news of dirty bombs exploding in major U.S. cities, including one 12 miles downtown from them, the couples begin to accept that a disaster has occurred. They split up to search the house for emergency supplies and airseal it with duct tape. Throughout the hunt, revelations of affairs between both hosts and two guests are made, as are rejected sexual advances by the swinger couple toward the nervous newcomer, who is implied to be a 42-year-old virgin.

Through a shower radio, they hear an automated public advisory that the bombs contained the VX nerve poison. The chemistry teacher in the group understands that, because the attacks were chemical and not radiological, only hours remain before a gruesome death for them all. After going into a trancelike shock, she breaks her silence by asking for Scotch. She later mixes up a batch of "hillibilly ecstasy" from what she raided from a medicine cabinet, has an epiphany and calls off her six-year engagement. Her spirits lifted, she champions a musical session/"dance party" in the living room.

Her now-former fiance is a comic book trader and bases his survival strategy on what he's learned from zombie films like Night of the Living Dead. After hearing of the bombs, he becomes highly suspicious of outsiders (including the new guy) and suggests others watch for bite marks or odd behaviour, and they find weapons (like crowbars and chainsaws). He becomes concerned by the lack of life immediately outside the front window, so he questions the doctor guest about quickly "mutations" should appear and spread. She explains how genetic mutation really works, with some disdain, but later agrees to not let the late fifth couple into the house when they finally arrive, with the pair visibly sick with something. While he seems more concerned by the woman's vague and rushed description of the situation outside, her decision to leave them is also partly punishment for always being late and not caring.

The recently dumped trader decides the best option is to leave the house and drive blindly till he either reaches fellow survivors or runs out of gas, having at least died trying. He asks if anyone's coming with him, and they all load into his SUV. The battery has been drained by a guest listening to satellite radio, so it doesn't start.

The group eventually decides to stay home and have their meal as planned, enjoying what time they have. The newcomer goes to the cellar to fetch wine, and is discovered by his date adding rat poison to it. He explains that he's a firm believer in The Last Judgment, this is likely that and he wants to save his new "non-believer" friends from experiencing the worst of the Great Tribulation. Convinced he's crazy, she goes upstairs and tells the others, after the virgin pours the wine, but before they drink. He calmly admits it, and gives his reasons. They're unconvinced, until the chemist agrees their deaths would be easier this way, without the VX symptoms she details.

After some debate, they all agree to drink the poison together on the count of three. After one count, everyone only pretends to drink, even the "true believer", who says he figured that might happen. They again ready themselves and finally tip the glasses back in unison. Again, they all fake it. Their fate is left unknown.


and others.


The film's festival-touring poster, which parodies James Montgomery Flagg's famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster,[6] has independently received critical acclaim and was named as one of the 12 best movie posters of 2012 by Film School Rejects.[7] Oscilloscope Pictures is using an updated version of the same poster design, with the movie's film festival awards and a critic's quote added, for its commercial theatrical release.[5]


It's a Disaster has been selected to screen at the following film festivals:

It's a Disaster was chosen by the 2012 Friars Club Comedy Film Festival to be the festival's opening film.[8]


Oscilloscope and Theatrical Release[edit]

On August 23, 2012, Oscilloscope Laboratories announced that it had acquired North American distribution rights to It's a Disaster and that it planned both a theatrical and digital release of the film.[9][10] Oscilloscope has since announced its planned release schedule for the film, with the film opening in New York and Los Angeles on April 12, 2013, with theatrical distribution expanding into additional markets beginning April 19, 2013.[5] The movie earned $15,305, or $5,102 per theater, over its first weekend in limited release.[11]

Vine App Release[edit]

On February 19, 2013, Oscilloscope announced that it would initially distribute It's a Disaster via the new mobile app Vine.[12] Vine, a social networking app released by Twitter, Inc. on January 24, 2013, allows users to post video clips up to six seconds long, which then play in loop mode for viewers. A few hours after announcing the Vine distribution, described as a "stunt" and a "tongue in cheek experiment", Oscilloscope began tweeting links to 6-second-long chunks of the film each individually uploaded to Vine, thus making It's a Disaster the first film ever released on Vine.[12][13][14]

The following day, Oscilloscope issued another tongue-in-cheek press release admitting they were wrong in expecting audiences to embrace watching films in six-second clips on their smartphones, and that they were abandoning plans to release future films on Vine.[15][16]

iTunes and Digital Release[edit]

After the Vine release, Oscilloscope planned to release the film to more conventional digital and video on demand (VOD) services on March 5, 2013.[12][14] On March 5, 2013, actor Blaise Miller and actress Julia Stiles used Twitter to announce the film's release on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, and VOD.[17][18] It is currently available for streaming on Netflix.


BendFilm Festival
2012: won Best Screenplay
Edmonton International Film Festival
2012: won Grand Jury Award for Best Feature - Audience Choice
New Orleans Film Festival
2012: won Audience Award for Best Picture


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Julia Stiles and America Ferrera to Star in Indie Comedy 'It's a Disaster'". The Hollywood Reporter. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Rachel Boston Joins Indie Comedy 'It's a Disaster' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "It's a Disaster - 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c " - It's a Disaster". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Poster Lab: It’s a Disaster". Slant Magazine. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Miller, Neil (2 January 2013). "Year in Review: The Best Movie Posters of 2012". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Friars Club Comedy Film Festival Announces 2012 Lineup". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (23 August 2012). "Oscilloscope Acquires LAFF Comedy 'It's a Disaster' Starring Julia Stiles, David Cross and America Ferrera". Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (23 August 2012). "Oscilloscope nabs Berger’s ‘Disaster’". Variety. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "It's a Disaster (2013) Weekend Box Office". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "David Cross Comedy 'It's a Disaster' Getting Initial Release on Twitter-Owned App Vine". The Hollywood Reporter. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  13. ^ Watercutter, Angela (19 February 2013). "Watch Now: David Cross Flick It’s a Disaster Gets Released in 6-Second Increments on Vine". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "It's A Disaster Becomes First Film Released Via Twitter's Vine App". 19 February 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "OSCILLOSCOPE’S VINE DISTRIBUTION A DISASTER // Vine Premiere of IT’S A DISASTER Crashes And Burns /". 20 February 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Oscilloscope Labs’ Vine Movie Release ‘A Disaster’". Home Media Magazine. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "@MissJuliaStiles". 5 March 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "@bigpantsmiller". 5 March 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 

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